The Boys and Girls Club of Albany is closing its Inverness Road facility in part because of issues with the gymnasium floor. (Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — The East Albany operations of Boys and Girls Club of Albany is shutting its doors after 28 years of service to the community.
According to Bob Hutchinson, chief professional officer of the Albany club since July 1, the clubhouse at 1112 Inverness Road will permanently close today, citing financial reasons and structural issues. The building gym has a leaky roof and the damaged floor, he said.
“It appears to be the sealing between the floor and foundation,” Hutchinson said. “When it rains, water comes up through the floor. We have to look to the safety of the children as well as the club’s liability if someone is hurt.”
Hutchinson said it costs about $292,000 a year to operate the East Albany facility, which has six employees counting both full-time and part-time workers. He said those employees will be shifted to other locations and will not lose their jobs.
The building which houses the unit was built in 1986 following a fund-raising effort by Boys and Girls Club of Albany and Girls Inc. of Albany, which shares the facility, Hutchinson said.
According to Hutchinson, the gymnasium was added in 2004 through an agreement among those two clubs and the East Towne Civic League.
In addition to the gym, the Inverness facility includes a general recreation room, computer room, library and kitchen.
Officials of the clubs have come up with an alternate plan for providing recreation, education and fellowship for East Albany youngsters. Hutchinson said agreements are under way to establishing Boys and Girls Clubs at all the schools within the traditional service area.
Operations will open in Morningside Elementary School on August 4, Hutchinson said, and also at Turner Elementary. He hopes to have some activities also at Jackson Heights Elementary, and Radium Springs Middle Magnet School of the Arts.
“For young people not attending a school with a Boys and Girls Club on campus, transportation will be provided from their school to the Jane Willson Boys and Girls Club at 1012 Holloway Ave.,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said board members of Boys and Girls Club and Girls Inc. reached the decision to close the East Albany facility.
“Most of us would prefer to keep a stand-alone facility,” Hutchinson said, “But there are some real advantages to joining clubs with schools. For one thing we don’t have to load these youngsters in vans or minibuses. They can go straight from their classes. We really are excited about our collaboration with the Dougherty County school system and we’ll continue to provide the services which enable youth to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”