Columbia Boys and Girls Club is looking to expand

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COLUMBIA - Safe spaces for kids to play are hard to find, and one group is looking to broaden its reach. The Columbia Boys and Girls Club are presenting a potential expansion plan to the Columbia City Council Monday night. The expansion would upgrade parts of the 10,000 square foot facility that the organization currently operates out of, and would create a new 14,000 square foot facility. 

The new facility would feature a full size basketball court and gym. The organization has already been in contact with the non-profit organization the Mid-Missouri High Steppers and hopes other organizations will be able to use the facility. Further expansion would include a theater, a high school classroom area as well as more culinary space.

Club Director Bre Delgado emphasized the importance of more space for physical activities. The current facility has a room designated for physical activity, but it is no where near the size the organization wants it to be. Delgado also noted during the winter and rainy days it is hard to keep all the kids active if they cannot go outside to play.

Executive Director Valorie Livingston says the expansion would allow for the Boys and Girls Club to reach out to high school aged kids throughout the community.

"Our community needs a place for high school aged kids to go. Violent crime is up, juvenile crime is up, our community is experiencing a lot of challenges and we feel like the Boys and Girls Club can be part of the solution," Livingston said.

"We can provide the positive adult role models and mentors to be able help these kids to stay on track to graduate high school, avoid drugs and crime and pregnancy and even set goals to go on to college and what they want to be when they grow up," Livingston said.

Next year will be the 20 year anniversary of the Columbia Boys and Girls Club, and Livingston hopes the organization will be able to celebrate that milestone with the new facility.

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