Boys and Girls Club Kennebec Valley moves into new $10 million building

GARDINER, Maine (WABI) – End the old, make way for the new.

The Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley is finally in its new building and saying goodbye to the old building that was built in the 1950s.

“Oh, we are so excited! It’s just a dream come true, really, we’ve been working on it for several years,” said club CEO Ingrid Stanchfield.

The original plan was to renovate the old building. Stanchfield said they realized it would cost about the same amount to build a new one.

“What the old building taught us was all the things of a design that worked and all the things that could change for the safety and age-appropriateness of each program space for children,” she said.

With that in mind, construction of the $10 million facility has begun. Stanchfield said they have programs available for 6-week-old infants through college-ready teenagers.

“For us, these are generations of children. You know, the sign says it all, “A Great Future Starts Here.” Now we have kids going to college who started with us when they were babies,” she said.

Liang Zhi Li is one of them, even though he started when he was seven years old. After college, he is now the sports coordinator of the club he grew up in.

“For me, it is above all as if I had met all my friends here. When I was in ninth grade, my best friend was also in ninth grade, so we grew up together,” Li said.

He eventually graduated from the teen center when he also met his other best friends. Now he hopes to put into practice what he learned at university as well as all the knowledge he acquired at the centre.

“Over here I could see like the mentors and how they interacted with the kids and how they brought them up in the club and that was important to me and that’s what I’m back at,” said Li.