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LAKE STEVENS — The Lake Stevens Boys & Girls Club is getting ready to build a teen center almost twice the size of the one originally planned after a star-fueled raffle brought in $485,000 and helped shatter the organization’s fundraising goal.
In the spring, Hollywood actor Chris Pratt was the prize in a raffle to raise money for the club. Pratt is a Lake Stevens High School graduate and said in a video promoting the fundraiser that as a teen, the community center was where he went to stay out of trouble.
“I loved the idea of using the influence I have to create a space for kids to go have clean, healthy fun,” he said.
People from around the world bought the $10 raffle tickets for a chance to win a trip to hang out with Pratt on the set of “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster starring Pratt as comic book hero Star-Lord. A Connecticut woman won the trip and went with her daughters, according to Omaze, the organization that ran the fundraiser.
The $485,000 from the Pratt fundraiser is part of a $845,000 grand total for the project, Lake Stevens club director Mike Wetmore said Thursday. Locally, $240,000 was raised, and the club also received some state money. Originally, the goal was to raise $550,000, though that was before the raffle was created, he said.
Instead of a 1,500-square-foot teen center, the club now plans to build a 2,800-square-foot center. Designs call for a full-size kitchen for cooking classes, an area with computers equipped with video editing software, a game room with additional computers and internet access for homework and projects, and plenty of seating on couches and at tables for teens to do schoolwork or pass the time together.
To keep up with the new space, the club is adding a teen center director position and at least one other worker. They’ll be able to offer cooking, babysitting, video editing, resume building and job interview classes, among other new programs, Wetmore said.
The money also is being used to put a new roof on the rest of the club. There have been leaks in the 12-year-old roof and it’s past due for a replacement, Wetmore said. The building also is expected to get fresh paint and other minor upgrades. Wetmore hopes the money will cover the cost of a new van to transport teens around the county to club-related events and activities.
This year, Wetmore expects to have 2,300 members at the Lake Stevens club. More than 300 kids and teens use the club each day, including the childcare and sports programs. Up until now, there hasn’t been a space for teens to work and play separate from the little kids. That has limited the ability of the club to put on programs for teens and give them a safe place to go after school or on breaks.
The Lake Stevens Boys & Girls Club has applied to the city for permits and the goal is to start work this fall, if the permitting and weather allow.
“Before the rain gets here, we’d like to get the project started,” Wetmore said. “You have to get the foundation done before the rains arrive.”
If the foundation gets finished this fall, the teen center could open as soon as this spring. Otherwise, it would likely open near the start of next school year, Wetmore said.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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