The Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley announced Wednesday that plans are moving forward to purchase the former Salvation Army facility in downtown Burbank.
The search to find a new main clubhouse has taken more than a decade, according to representatives from the local chapter of the national nonprofit.
“When I walked into the building, it was as if we were home,” Shanna Warren, the club’s CEO, said in a news release.
The club has had its current home in former a firehouse on Buena Vista Street since 1995. Though adequate 25 years ago, when the club served only 75 members, now more than 200 members and 70 employees walk through the main clubhouse doors.
“After several failed attempts to find a new building, we were thrilled in 2018 when the Burbank Unified School District offered to lease us land on the Providencia Elementary School site,” Warren said. “As we moved through the long process of building from the ground up, the Salvation Army building became available. After consulting with our board of directors, it was decided that purchasing a building would be more economically advantageous.
“BUSD couldn’t have been more gracious when we informed them of our change in plans. They completely understood our situation, and we are so grateful to them that they were willing to partner with us,” Warren said.
The club is currently in escrow, with plans to move into the space in early 2021. Warren said the club plans to include several amenities in the rehabilitated facility, including an indoor gymnasium, dance and art studios, a STEAM lab, an outdoor courtyard and an auditorium.
“That we can finally have a main clubhouse that can grow and change to meet the needs of generations of club members for years to come is so gratifying,” she said. “Our club kids deserve nothing less.”
The nonprofit also recently announced that it has teamed up with the Burbank Unified School District to help students adapt to virtual learning.
“Going back to school is extremely challenging this year, but we are committed to making it a positive experience for our members and are grateful to be working with BUSD,” Warren said.
The club currently has five locations: Bret Harte Elementary, Stevenson Elementary, the main club, Peyton Grismer Activity Center and Elmwood. At the sites, members can attend full-day programs, including “virtual learning and enrichment programs.”
These programs consist of STEM, art, career and college readiness, leadership and outdoor recreation activities. The organization also provides supervision and technical support to members with their distance learning, and provides class/homework assistance.
Next week, the club will continue its partnership with BUSD to add four more after-school education and safety programs sites at Disney Elementary, Providencia Elementary, Washington Elementary and Luther Middle School.
In order to assess parents’ child-care needs Burbank Unified and the Boys & Girls Clubs sent surveys out to their families and then worked together to ensure all families have access to full day child-care options.
“It’s a work in progress,” Warren explained. “The key is to remain flexible and adapt when necessary.”