Boys & Girls Club begins drive to raise $2.4 million

LACONIA — The Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region kicked off a $2.4 million capital fund drive at its new facility, the former St. James Episcopal Church on North Main Street, Thursday at noon and received a major donation of $100,000 from the Bank of New Hampshire.
Mark Primeau, president and CEO of the bank which was for years known as Laconia Savings Bank, said ''this is our home and we want to make sure we help support the organizations which make a difference in the community.''
Primeau noted that the club had suffered through hard times in recent years, having had four homes since it was started in 1999, but had persevered and found an ideal new setting. He said the most recent contribution raised the bank's total contributions to the club to $250,000.
Primeau said that the church is "an ideal location" for the club, just a stone's throw from Laconia Middle School and across the street from Opechee Park, with its beach, track and playing fields.
Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the club's board of directors, said ''we're home at last'' and that the club is excited about the programs it is able to offer in its new location.
In March, the Vestry of the church accepted the club's offer to purchase the land and buildings for a reported price of $700,000. The property provides 17,000-square-feet of space between the ground floor and half-basement and sits on a 1.3-acre lot.
The new facility includes eight program rooms, which will provide space for academic support, art, small group activity, and computers, a 5,000-square-foot great room for indoor recreation, drama, dance, music, and social opportunities, a modern institutional kitchen for nutrition programs, cooking lessons, independent living skill building, and many meals as well as a spacious community room which house a Kids Cafe and Game Room, as well as being a community resource.
Cheryl Avery, executive director, said that the club will be expanding hours for high school students after the first of the year.
Al Posnack, past president of the club, is chairing the fund drive, which he said has already raised nearly a third of its $2.4 million goal, said that the fund drive is receiving a lot of support from the community because people see the good things that the club is doing.
He said that there are three parts of the fund drive, $700,000 for the purchase of the church property, $700,000 for renovations to the property and $1 million for an endowment fund.
The club was recently awarded a $250,000 grant by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, which will be applied toward the acquisition of the building.



Mark Primeau, president and CEO of the Bank of New Hampshire, presents a symbolic check for $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region at the kickoff of its $2.4 million capital fund drive on Thursday. Applauding are Laconia Police Chief Chris Adams, president of the club's board of directors, and Cheryl Avery, executive director of the club. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Children who are involved in programs at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region look on as a sign for the club's fundraising campaign is unveiled in front of the club's new building on North Main Street in Laconia. At art work depicts a ground pushing a large boulder up a hill toward a fundraising goal of $2.4 million. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)