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$750,000 grant could bring gym to Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier
A sketch of the gymnasium the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier intend to build. Provided by Hall County

A $750,000 community development block grant could help the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier build a gymnasium that would serve kids from kindergarten through middle school.

The application for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs grant came before the Hall County Board of Commissioners’ work session Monday, Jan. 25. 

The plan is for a roughly 6,100-square-foot multipurpose gym that would serve children ages 6-14 in low-income households at the Joseph F. Walters Club on Memorial Drive in Gainesville.

Steven Mickens, the organization’s chief executive officer, said the club was built back in 2010 and has served children from kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Over the years, we just started to take a look at what’s happening to those fifth graders that are now entering middle school, and it’s some of the most influential years between sixth and eighth grade,” Mickens said.

Mickens said they have also repeatedly seen middle school and high school kids playing sports in the field near the club after hours and on weekends. If the grant is awarded, the gym would allow for different sports such as basketball, indoor soccer and volleyball.

According to the proposal presented to the board of commissioners, the organization would provide “health and educational programming for after school and summer months.” The gym would serve students at Lyman Hall Elementary, Chicopee Woods Elementary, South Hall Middle and Johnson High.

“We know that if you keep kids active, they perform better in school, so this gives us an opportunity to provide a space where we can keep kids physically active,” Mickens said.

The estimated cost for construction of the gym would be $1 million, and the grant application is seeking $750,000. The remaining costs would be covered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lanier.

Mickens said there has been growing support from donors to fund the remaining portion of the project.

The application deadline for the grant is April 1 with an expected award announcement in September or October. If received, the organization anticipates beginning construction in December and completing the project in October 2022.

Knowing that the grants are competitive, Mickens said they are “hopeful and confident that we should be able to hopefully land it.”

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