Greensboro - The Salvation Army of Greensboro announced Tuesday it soon will be able to accommodate hundreds more children, many of whom currently are on wait lists for the Boys and Girls Club at the current facility on Neal Street. The organization has purchased a new facility in Warnersville.
This year marks the Boys and Girls Club program's 75th anniversary, and the group has been located at the Salvation Army's Central Unit Club on Neal Street since 1957. Organization administrators affirm it needs a larger space to be able to meet more of the demand in the community.
The Salvation Army of Greensboro has purchased the former J.C. Price School property on Freeman Mill Road in Warnersville. It will house the Salvation Army Corps Community Center and the Boys and Girls Club in what will be a multi-purpose auditorium. In addition to being able to accommodate more children in the Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army said it will expand its services and thereby be able to "catch up" with its mission.
Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs executive director Jamie Cooper told News 2, "Having a larger facility and more field space allows us to partner with more entities within the community for athletics, for more arts-related programming, just being able to provide that opportunity for more kids will be an extraordinary feat."
According to Cooper, the Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro currently has 100 children on the wait list, which started in May.
Salvation Army of Greensboro director of marketing and public relations Ellen Bliven said the organization purchased the former J.C. Price School with a million dollar donation from a single donor whose name has yet to be released. Bliven said the donation was "hoped for" but not necessarily expected. She said the donation came in around the first of this year.
Cooper said, "We had a very generous donor who was able to provide the funds for us to make that initial purchase."
Neither Bliven nor Cooper said they could speculate on exactly how much more funding is needed in order to build the new facility, but they said they hope to break ground on the new site by the beginning of next year. UNCG still will own the buildings at the current facility.
Cooper said the organization has five years left on the lease of its current facility from UNCG, so he hopes the new building will be completed within those five years.
Cooper said, "It's a large undertaking that we're endeavoring to proceed with, so the funds will continue to shift, depending on the needs of the facility and the architect and the different things that we desire to put in that, so we don't have a set figure on that, but we're anticipating a very large number to raise, and hopefully the community will come behind that and support that endeavor."
Cooper said people who wish to aid the Salvation Army of Greensboro with its existing needs can give financial donations or fill out a volunteer application to work with the children.
"They're just looking for a mentor and someone to love and care for them," he said.