Sultan Boys & Girls Club ready to rise from ashes

SULTAN — On the third anniversary of the Christmas Eve fire that destroyed Sultan’s Boys &Girls Club, the nonprofit looks forward to building a $2 million facility.

Snohomish County Boys &Girls Club Executive Director Bill Tsoukalas said he expects Jan. 7 to send bids out for the construction of the 18,000-square-foot building.

The new club will be located at the Volunteers of America’s Sky Valley Family and Community Resource Center on First Street.

Tsoukalas said the location offers benefits including close proximity to schools, and the property is not affected by the floodplain.

Volunteers of America offered the club a space to continue operating after its two original buildings were destroyed by an accidental fire in 2010 just down the street.

“It’s been three years thanks to their good graces,” Tsoukalas said. “They’ve been very community minded. Without them we wouldn’t be in business now.”

The Boys &Girls Club now serves about 100 children. Tsoukalas said he expects that number to increase to 500 once the building is completed.

He expects construction crews break ground on the $2 million facility in early 2014.

“We hope we have adequate funding,” Tsoukalas said.

The city of Sultan, which owned the original club buildings, decided to release about $1 million in insurance money to the club to rebuild after the fire. The Legislature in 2011 awarded the club an additional $500,000 in state funding. The nonprofit also received $340,000 in Snohomish County community development grants.

Tsoukalas said construction bids are due by the end of January. Once the bids come in, the nonprofit will know if the new club has adequate funding. If not, Tsoukalas said, the group will construct the building in phases while it raises private funds.

Eventually, the new facility will include a full-size gymnasium, a game room, a teen center and an early childhood education area. There also will be a kitchen in addition to meeting and community gathering spaces.

The public has been involved in the planning of the new facility for the past three years, Sultan city administrator Ken Walker said.

“There was a lot of massive input and support from the community,” he said.

Throughout the process, Tsoukalas said, the club has appreciated the enthusiasm for the facility, which he expects to be operating by the end of 2014.

“It’s typical of a community that cares about its kids,” he said. “The adults finally figured it out and the kids are going to benefit.”

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; anile@heraldnet.com.

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