Midtown Raleigh News

New teen center planned for Wake Boys and Girls Clubs

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Wake County plan to break ground on a new teen center this fall at the campus off Raleigh Boulevard.

The 16,000 square-foot building will include amenities such as a gymnasium, a computer lab and a library, and is projected to cost $3 million.

The new building will allow the group to serve at least 500 teenagers from ages 14 to 18 during the next five to 10 years.

Since 2007, the group’s teen club has been located off New Bern Avenue. By bringing the club onto the same campus as the Raleigh Boys Club and the Raleigh Girls Club, the group hopes to help young people transition from one club to the next.

Younger children at the club will be able to see teenagers participating in activities, which will encourage them to stay involved, said Hugh McLean, the vice president of operations for the group.

“It’s going to create a great sense of excitement,” he said.

The new club will be named for the group’s longtime executive director, Ralph E. Capps, who was inducted into the city’s Hall of Fame last year. Capps has been with the group since 1973, growing it from one location in a church building to seven clubs serving 4,500 children and teenagers.

In 2010, the group launched “Be the One,” a capital campaign with the goal of raising $12 million. It has raised $8.5 million so far and already has completed one project, a new building in Zebulon. The teen club will be the campaign’s second project.

The proposal for the club still must go through the city’s planning process.

Nate Myers, a youth development coordinator at the teen club, said that while the staff and teens have made good use of the resources they have, a new facility will make a difference.

“The idea of a new building is refreshing,” he said. “It will take things to the next level.”