It doesn’t look like much now, but soon this 27,000-square-foot shell of a building on 100th Ave. N.E. in downtown Bellevue is going to be a lot of things to a lot of people.
In August the new Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue is slated to open The Jim and Sally A. Nordstrom Clubhouse. The state-of-the-art facility broke ground last October.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue is an independent 501C3 nonprofit organization, separate from King County Boys & Girls Clubs. It began in 1952 as The Bellevue Boys Club. In the mid 1970s, girls were allowed. In 1994 the Bellevue organization expanded to east Bellevue. Today the Club is the largest youth service provider in Bellevue serving over 11,000 members at 12 Club sites.
Some of the need for the new downtown clubhouse is a response to Bellevue’s changing demographics. In the last 20 years the city’s population has increased by 47 percent to 138,000 people.
Today households include more parents who both work, as well as more single parents and struggling immigrants. Bellevue is one of the most diverse areas in the state with 82 languages spoken in area schools. Even though 92 percent of kids graduate from Bellevue schools, only 71 percent of the ones who have English as a second language are graduating on time. And only 80 percent of the kids in low-income schools are graduating on time.
One of the missions of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue is to support those students and help them stay on track and succeed through various programs.
Afterschool programs help students stay safe, learn and remain active and healthy. There are scholarships available to help ensure kids who want the support can access it regardless of ability to pay.
Programs offered with include STEM classes, computer coding, drop out prevention classes, and mentorships through a program called Dimplomas to Degrees.
The Clubhouse will also serve another underserved demographic in Bellevue – senior citizens. Especially those with limited incomes, resources and many who are non-English speaking immigrants. When kids aren’t using the facilities, others in the community will.
The new Clubhouse is replacing the one that was built in the 1940s and remodeled in the 1970s. The layout was outdated, the HVAC system was failing and the roof was leaking.
Fundraising began in 2012 – and the current goal is to $24.5 million to not only fund the Main Clubhouse project in downtown, but also to build a new Fieldhouse in Hidden Valley and a new Teen Center in Lake Hills. It is about $1.5 million from the goal.
Learn more about the BE great Bellevue fundraising campaign and more online.