RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Richmond’s East End celebrated the completion of a major renovation and expansion since 1971.
The $8 million dollar expansion and renovation took 15 months to complete. Roughly 8,000 square feet were added to the facility located 3701 R St.
“Our goal has always been to create a safe and empowering environment to provide children and community members opportunities to reach their full potential,” said Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club executive director Hugh Jones. “We believe this updated facility will help us deliver on that even better than before.”
The club will now have a year-round indoor aquatics center, STEM studios, expanded teen center, upgraded gymnasium and the addition of community classrooms and a fitness studio.
“It’s just wonderful to see the boys and girls club go like that to this, I’m very proud,” Niyazia Tune, a member said.
Tune joined the club about 10 years ago and says the club helped her open up as a person after losing her mom at an early age.
“They just let me sit and talk and express what I’m feeling and they’ll listen,” Tune said.
Local officials joined in on the celebration including Richmond Sheriff Antionette Irving.
Irving was a member of the club growing up and told 8News how important it was to have the club.
“Growing up in this area and domestic violence and substance abuse, it was a place for me to be that made sure I was safe,” Irving said.
She added that the club gave her the opportunity to express herself.
Irving hopes that kids will look at her and get inspired.
“If I came through this club and became who I made myself to be, I think that they feel that they can do as well,” Irving said.
The Club is hosting a Community Day open house on Saturday, April 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Attendees will get a chance to tour the space, meet Club alumni, get membership information and take part in live demonstrations from program partners, like robotics, fitness, art and dance.