With all funding nearly in place, construction on the 12,000-square-foot Josh Norman Teen Center is on track for a January start, and the facility should be ready for use by summer 2020.
Sabrina Miller, director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakelands Region, updated the County Council on the center’s progress four months after many of them attended a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Brewer complex where the project is taking shape.
Financed in large part by the Washington Redskins star defensive back and Greenwood native who offered his name to the center, Miller said Tuesday officials are closing in on their $1.3 million goal, with just more than $1 million in hand.
“This is the 50th year of man being landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong said it was that of a small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind,” Norman said during the June announcement. “I would like to equate that for Greenwood, South Carolina. It’s a small step for us, but it’s going to be a giant leap in our community because we definitely need it.”
Miller said the complex is expected to annually serve up to 1,000 youngsters between the ages of 5 and 18.
“Offering them a sense of belonging, a sense of usefulness, a sense of influence and a sense of competence,” she said.
In addition to a common area, gaming lounge and other customized facilities, Miller said the center will also boast a sound and recording studio. Norman said in June he wanted the complex to not only be state-of-the art, but in line with the varied interests of youths within Greenwood County.
“I want you to make it your own. I just foot the bill here and there, but it’s your guys’ place,” Norman said. “Do whatever you want to do with it. Paint, whatever you want to do it. I’m just here as a vessel to pass it along.”
Miller said she anticipates volunteer support, allowing for an “array of activities” to be offered for the center’s patrons.
“Hopefully, that will bring a diverse range of things that they can gain an interest in and gain access to. Different areas and careers, and those kinds of things,” she said.
With its hyperlocal focus, Miller said Boys and & Girls Club wants to use local contractors for the job. Permitting should start within the next 60 days.
“We’re really excited about that that will bring. So far, we’ve been able to employ 24 employees in our different sites, and we are just asking for the continued support from you guys and also the community,” she said.