Moving on up: South Walton Boys & Girls Club ready to move into new home (PHOTOS)

boys and girls club
Jennie McKeon | The Sun
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 01:02 PM.

After years of operating in cramped quarters, the South Walton Boys & Girls Club has finished construction on their new building that provides nearly 30 times more space.

Since about 2007, the South Walton Boys & Girls Club has been running out three standalone trailers equaling about 1,500 square-feet. Before that, they operated on 30A by Topsail Park . With an average of 60-65 kids, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade, it's been difficult to create activities and programs for the kids to enjoy.

"Space was a huge need," said program director Kim Banks. "Especially outdoor space, so kids can be physically active."

Now, with eight and a half acres, there's more than enough room for sports and outdoor activities. The club is working with Walton County and sharing the outdoor space in exchange for maintenance.

The 33,500 square-foot building has more than enough room for the current local membership — and then some. In the past, the South Walton Club has had to turn away some memberships because of spacing. With two full-size basketball courts, a computer lab, a cafe and several multipurpose rooms, a brand-new 77 passenger bus and, something they haven't had before, an office for employees, the local chapter will have the space needed for their goal of 200 memberships and upwards.

The club won't be moving very far since construction has taken place right behind the club's current location on Greenway Trail. But even just a few steps away, it feels like another world.

"It's a far cry from the trailers," said Shervin Rassa, CEO of Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Coast.

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