BY ZACHARY MATSON, The Daily Gazette
Schenectady, N.Y. — The new Boys & Girls Club center slotted between Mont Pleasant Middle School and Pleasant Valley Elementary Schools shined and glimmered with finishing touches during a recent tour.
But it is also built to last and endure the daily pounding from teens and young kids coming its way.
Terrazzo floors. Quartz and Corian counters. TVs at the entrance to each room, listing activities for the day. A $300,000 performance theater, designed in consultation with Proctors. A large gym full of natural light streaming through massive windows.
The new $13 million center, set to open as soon as next month, stands as a symbol of the community’s support for its youth, said Shane Bargy, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady County, calling it “one of the most exciting projects” for youth in the city’s history.
“It reeks of quality, which is what we want our kids to feel,” Bargy said as he showed off the building Tuesday. “What we really want is for the kids to realize how much the community cares for them. This building is a statement about how much the community cares.”
Bargy even noted the durability of the front doors, which he said were “mall quality,” a step above school quality and built to accommodate unrelenting use.
“Our doors go open-shut, open-shut constantly,” Bargy said.
With equipment and furniture still coming into the building, Bargy said he hopes to open to the city’s youth sometime in December, after officials get together for a formal opening ceremony.
Bargy, who grew up about five blocks from the new center and graduated from Mont Pleasant High School, said the building was designed with two priorities in mind: safety and durability.
Even the bathrooms were designed and built to be “virtually indestructible.” Urinal and stall dividers are made from a composite material that minimizes unwanted writing and carving and the sinks and floors are strong too.
The building was also designed with flexibility on the mind: many rooms can be divided and subdivided for different uses and easily-movable furniture will allow kids to set themselves apart in large spaces for games, discussions and other activities.
“We made the building as flexible as possible for all kinds of programming,” Bargy said.
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