Tony Perez uses stilts to finish work high up on a wall in the Arlington Boys and Girls Club’s new teen center on Wednesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Tony Perez uses stilts to finish work high up on a wall in the Arlington Boys and Girls Club’s new teen center on Wednesday. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Construction progressing on Boys & Girls Club in Arlington

ARLINGTON — A new gymnasium and teen center are going up at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club.

The goal is to open them around March 22, the three-year mark since the 2014 Oso mudslide.

“We want to make this a reality for kids who saw a disaster almost three years ago,” said Bill Tsoukalas, director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. “It’s a way for the adults to demonstrate to the kids that they are important and they want to take care of them and provide safe, fun and healthy places for them.”

The additions expand the club by nearly 13,000 square feet, with 1,760 square feet for the teen center and 11,000 for a gym area. That’s enough room for one full-sized and one half-sized gymnasium. Construction started in September.

The first Boys & Girls Club in Arlington was built when the city’s population was about 2,000. Now, the club has more than 2,200 members, Tsoukalas said. Expansion was needed to keep pace with growth. As Arlington, Darrington and Marysville focus on adding jobs and drawing workers, more families are moving to north Snohomish County.

Construction is a bit behind schedule because of the recent cold snap and a high demand for materials, especially the steel needed to frame the gymnasium, Tsoukalas said. The goal still is to finish in March.

The project received money from the Legislature and from local donors. The Stilly 2000 campaign, which aims to collect $250 apiece from 2,000 donors, is ongoing. The campaign is about halfway to its goal, Tsoukalas said.

After the gym and teen center are finished, workers plan updates to floors, paint and equipment in the rest of the club.

The club expansion is one of the changes identified as part of the Stilly Valley Youth Project.

An overhaul of two ball fields at Bill Quake Memorial Park should be done in time for spring sports, with plans for more work at the park in the future. Along with improved fields, the designs call for better access for spectators, including those with limited mobility.

An update to the Stillaguamish Senior Center and Arlington Community Resource Center was finished earlier this month. The resource center considered moving to new space in the Boys & Girls Club but ended up staying at the senior center, largely because of its proximity to a public transit station. Money from the Boys & Girls Club project that was slated to add space for the resource center instead went toward a remodel at the senior center.

Workers updated the portion of the building used by the resource center to add office space and private meeting rooms as well as a demonstration kitchen. They added a new room for the senior center’s food bank to make distribution easier and free up the classroom that the food bank had been using.

Dave Duskin is vice president of the senior center board and served on a planning committee and advisory board for the resource center. The updates to the building are important, he said. There now are private areas for volunteers or social workers to meet with people who need help. Some of them are seniors who already go to the center, so now the other resources they need are in the same location, he said.

“It’s just been a good partnership,” Duskin said. “For example, the resource center brings in mental health counseling, and now that’s available to the seniors here. And, of course, the homeless community includes seniors.”

This year, the resource and senior center plan to host a resource fair during the Jan. 24 Point in Time homeless count. The new remodel will make that easier. Work on the center is mostly wrapped up, with some finishing touches remaining, Duskin said.

These projects have built ties in the community among groups that share goals but often worked independently in the past, Tsoukalas said. That includes the Boys & Girls Club, community resource center, senior center, food bank, city, county and local youth sports leagues.

“Out of disaster, really there came this opportunity to rally around and show the kids and community that we care about them,” he said.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

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