Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County staff and contractors are added the finishing touches to the Mackenzie Family Boys and Girls Club facility located in Sun Prairie ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Opening event.
The new facility, over 20,000 square feet, will offer residents access to licensed after-school programming that includes transportation, and a full-time day care facility. The building features a new gym, performance spaces, playrooms, classrooms, a technology zone, art room, several preschool classrooms, additional offices for staff and areas for students to learn about the trades.
“We want this club to be known as a country club for kids,” said Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County.
The organization began construction on the facility on the 2.69 acre site, formerly a church, about a year ago. The organization partnered with Operation Fresh Start for the demolition.
At 10:00 am Wednesday, the McKenzie Family Boys & Girls Club in Sun Prairie will open its doors to the public for the first time.
“We’ll give a couple of keys to key donors that were very instrumental in pulling this off,” Johnson said.
One of those key donors is the McKenzie family, who gave $1 million in support of the new facility and its operations. Boys and Girls Club named the facility after the for their generous contribution. Visitors to the new facility will see a painting of the family, known for their development of multi-family homes, above a plaque dedicated in their honor in the main hall in addition to other pieces of artwork created by local students throughout the building.
After remarks from stakeholders and local community leaders, residents will have an opportunity to tour the new facility and enter some of the play areas and preschool classroom.
“This is ten years in the making that the city of Sun Prairie has been asking for us to build a facility, and now it’s coming to fruition,” Johnson said.
He also said the organization has raised over $2 million dollars in about a year for this $3 million dollar project. The McKenzie Family Boys & Girls Club will have the capacity to serve up to 200 kids in Sun Prairie.
“We still are looking for donors to sponsor rooms so the building will be completely debt free,” Johnson said.
The process has been quite an exciting adventure for the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Johnson said the organization held town hall meetings and individual tours, as pastors, businesses and community leaders offered their support toward the project.
“It will be the largest dedicated space for after school programming and preschool programming for kids in Sun Prairie,” he said.
The McKenzie Family Boys & Girls Club in Sun Prairie will serve as a licensed preschool facility with certified teachers to work with kids. Children who participate in programming will also receive tutoring and other academic resources in addition to full course meals each day.
“We want kids to come in here. We want it to be bright. We want it to be clean. We want them to take care of it. We want them to know that this community cares about them and loves them. That’s why we’ve invested so many resources into the facility,” Johnson said.
The community will also have access to use the space on certain days and throughout the weekend. Johnson said the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County will continue to serve as a model for community involvement.
“I think we do it better than anybody. We have the largest public/ private partnership in the school district in Madison and in Verona. We put over a thousand kids in college. We have over 40 tutors that we pay that’s in the classroom helping low-income kids graduate and go to college. We’re the only organization that has staff at Madison College, Edgewood College and UW-Madison helping kids persist and go through high school,” he said.
Johnson said the organization plans to build a strong board at the Mackenzie family facility and increase access to these programs in Sun Prairie. Community members will be able to begin enrolling their children in programs that will start Feb. 1.