ORLANDO, Fla. – Local leaders, business partners and community members broke ground Monday on what will become the largest Boys & Girls Club in Central Florida.
The state-of-the-art facility is being built on the grounds of Orange Center Elementary, which is located off Tampa Avenue near Camping World Stadium.
Gary Cain, who is the president and CEO of the organization, said the new building will have a tremendous impact on the community.
“It’s really going to mean that moms also don’t have to worry what their children might be doing after school or in the summertime,” Cain said.
When finished, the club will be 30,000 square feet and will serve more than 250 children daily between the ages of 6 and 18.
"It gives you the possibility to have great space for teenagers," Cain said. "To be able to have the assets in there to be able to do arts, technology and things that kids are really excited about."
The $9 million project was funded, in part, from a $4 million naming gift from Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis, as well as a $1 million contribution from Darden Restaurants.
The Bradley-Otis family branch will be part of the West Lakes community's "cradle to career pipeline," which is a partnership between Lift Orlando and residents to accelerate economic viability.
"The campus, in itself, is going to be a walkable connected community for children and families to really experience what it means to thrive in place," Lift Orlando CEO Eddy Moratin said.
According to the organization, nearly $100 million will have been invested into West Lakes by the end of 2020. In addition to the Boys & Girls Club, investments include a mixed-income apartment complex, the West Lakes Early Learning Center and the renovation of Lake Lorna Doone Park.
Construction on the Bradley-Otis Family Branch of the Boys & Girls Club is expected to take 11 months, with the facility scheduled to open in late 2020 or early 2021.