In a flashback to early March 2020, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia is again asking Albemarle County for $2 million for its new facility near Jack Jouett Middle School.
The club has raised about $18.9 million of the estimated $21.9 million total needed for planning and construction of a 52,000-square-foot building, which is scheduled to open this fall.
Prior to the pandemic ending in-person local government meetings and becoming the focus of localities in 2020, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors had briefly discussed giving the club $2 million. The board decided to discuss that request at a later work session that but that session wound up focusing on COVID-19 and delaying the budget adoption.
During a fiscal year 2023 budget work session on Wednesday, outgoing Boys and Girls Club CEO James Pierce said the club was keeping its request the same as it did in 2020, despite the project costs increasing by approximately $3 million.
“The club has decided to keep its request at $2 million because of the generous private support that we have received from the community,” he said. “At the same time, most of our private donations have already been identified and this needed allocation could inspire the final push from our supporters who do ask us about county support.”
He said that the request is in line with previous “strategic, extra budgetary requests” from the county from other organizations, such as The Center at Belvedere and the Brooks Family YMCA, to which the county has previously given $2 million.
The nonprofit is renting the land for the facility from the county school board for $1 a year as part of a 40-year lease approved in 2019 and updated in 2020 to reflect a change in the specific site.
Pierce said the new club will allow them to provide year-round services to over 500 Albemarle students.
“Altogether, our capacity on site will grow by 450%,” he said. “This huge increase in service and return to the county is before we even factor in daytime use of the facility by schools and government, and even evening and weekend ability to reserve meeting rooms for community meetings and events.”
Supervisors were supportive of the new facility and giving funds, but did not make any decisions Wednesday afternoon.
“I would be interested in knowing what my options were so I can compare it against the other needs [and] where the resources would be pulled from,” Supervisor Ned Gallaway said. “Then that would help me to determine how much and how it plays out.”
When the county gave money for The Center to be built, it gave $500,000 over four years.
“I want that option available and to try to understand how this would work,” Gallaway said.
Supervisor Ann H. Mallek agreed and said she would want to follow that model.
Andy Bowman, chief of the county’s budget division, said county staff will bring back options and find where funding may come for the club and other items that the board has discussed during the budget sessions.
Bowman said the county also is working to create a process to accept community funding requests for capital projects that would start during the fiscal year 2024 budget process.
“That is one of the things we have in our minds as we pick up this request from two years ago, and we consider what that process looks like in the future,” he said.
The board is scheduled to have another budget work session next Wednesday at noon in Lane Auditorium at the McIntire Road County Office Building. The work session, which is ahead of the board’s regular meeting, will be the county’s first in-person board meeting since 2020. The meeting will also be accessible virtually on the county’s website, albemarle.org.
A final public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 27 with a final vote on the budget scheduled for May 4.