Boys and Girls Clubs to build new center for after-school programs

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Albemarle County Public Schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Virginia have reached a deal that could expand after-school programming.

On Thursday, the Albemarle County School Board approved a 40-year lease with the Boys and Girls Clubs.

According to a release, 150 elementary and middle schools students in the county are enrolled in programs at Jouett Middle School and the clubs' Cherry Avenue location.

The release says the Boys and Girls Clubs will build and operate a youth activities and education center of up to 35,000 square feet with a gym, classrooms, computer lab, art room, game room, multipurpose rooms, outdoor recreation areas, and parking, all at the clubs' expense.

This new facility will be located on property next to Jouett's baseball field, and the building and its operations will be paid for by donations to the Boys and Girls Clubs.

The land where the facility will be leased from the schools division for $1 per year.

"This is a much-needed expansion of after-school care opportunities for students, particularly those who do not have such opportunities," said ACPS COO Rosalyn Schmitt. "It addresses four of the five objectives of our strategic plan."

Those objectives are engaging every student, improving opportunity and achievement, creating and expanding partnerships, and optimizing resources.

The release says this new center is projected to open no later than the first day of school in 2021 and it will be able to accommodate up to 500 students each year, or 300 daily, between the ages of six and 18.

There is a $35 per year fee for the program, though the Boys and Girls Clubs do offer scholarships to families in need.

The release adds that ACPS students and former students who have relocated to Charlottesville City Schools will have priority in enrolling in programs at this new facility, as dictated by the lease.

Schmitt says the center will be a significant asset for students in the urban ring schools of Agnor-Hurt, Woodbrook, Jouett, Greer and Albemarle. The school division will provide transportation for Agnor-Hurt and Woodbrook students who enroll.

ACPS currently offers an Extended Day Enrichment Program with after-school opportunities for elementary students, but there are often waiting lists to get into the program and the tuition can be up to $2,000 a for a full year.

"An Extended Day Enrichment program evaluation we did a few years ago suggested that the need for high-quality after-school programming is higher than what we could offer," said Schmitt. "The timing of this agreement with the Boys and Girls Club could not be more beneficial. We look forward to working with the club and its outstanding staff in expanding the number of children and families who will have access to services that align with our mission of establishing a community of learners and learning."

Boys and Girls Club programs work on personal development objectives such as character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts and sports, and fitness and recreation.

After-school programs include homework and tutoring time, leisure reading, writing, robotics, team-building, STEM, and games to develop cognitive skills.

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