Aberdeen Youth Center fundraising on schedule

March 5, 2012
Aberdeen American News

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Rendition of the new Youth Center
Rendition of the new Youth Center
The Aberdeen Family YMCA's capital campaign has raised about $1.7 million of the $4 million to build a youth development center, YMCA officials said.

With the current rate of fundraising, ground is expected to be broken in late spring or early summer, said YMCA Executive Director Steve Graf.

"We're in pretty good shape toward reaching that target at this point, and we're just about halfway there," he said.

The first phase of the fundraising began in November, when the campaign looked for funding from corporations, employers and individuals, said capital campaign co-chairwoman Erin Fouberg.

While the first phase of the campaign garnered several donations, Fouberg said two key components were lacking: funding from the city and a major donor.

Funding from the city was missing because tax revenues were down, she said. The campaign is still seeking a major donor for the facility.

"When you do the forecasting, if you have a $4 million campaign and you have a major donor that makes a donation of $500,000, that makes the process a lot faster," she said.

But, she added, the facility will be built, with or without a major donor.

The YMCA is preparing to launch the second and final part of the campaign that will seek donations from individuals in the community.

The new 25,000-square-foot facility will house both of the YMCA's youth programs: After the Bell and Learning Tree Preschool. Now, both programs are housed in facilities that were retrofitted to accommodate the programs. Each program is licensed to accommodate only a certain number of students based on each facility's size, making it somewhat difficult for the programs, Graf said.

"It is a challenge based on the configuration (of) the facilities and the cramped quarters that they're in," he said.

The current program has roughly 165 kids who come in on a daily basis, which is near capacity.

The new facility will increase each program's size, from 104 to 185 for the Learning Tree and from 90 to 140 for After the Bell, Graf said.

The facility will be the first building built specifically for child care, Fouberg said.

"This'll be the first of its kind, and it shows that not only is Aberdeen committed to economic development, but that Aberdeen is committed to our children and providing the best child care possible," she said.