Murray Boys & Girls Club celebrates official ribbon cuttingSep 23, 2019 12:15PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
Gail Miller speaks at the ribbon cutting for the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Club. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
It’s been a landmark in Murray for over 50 years, and now the freshly renovated Murray Boys & Girls Club comes with laser cutters, robotics stations and even a new name—Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Club. Gail Miller, whose foundation funded much of the renovation, was on hand at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 5.
“I see a supportive and visionary experience in this building for those who will come here. I appreciate all those who had that vision, who made it come to life, and created something that would be able to create a future for a lot of kids who may not have had that opportunity,” Miller said.
First built in 1967, the building was not only showing its age but not able to cope with the demands for services placed on it. The Club has reached capacity for years, and prospective members were consistently met with a waiting list. This expansion allows Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake to serve an additional 100 elementary-age kids every day.
With 10,000 additional square feet, the expansion includes a safe and unified entrance for pick up and drop off, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Center, computer lab, new classrooms, renovated Teen Center and improved outdoor space. The updated Club will serve some of the most at-risk populations in the state: 66% of Murray Club members are from low-income homes (compared to 38% statewide), and 52% are from single-parent households (compared to 19% statewide.)
Present at the ribbon cutting with Gail Miller were Murray City Mayor Blair Camp, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake LeAnn Saldivar, and Shawnti Diaz, the Murray Boys & Girls Club 2019 Youth of the Year.
“I have been coming here since I was three, and this has been like a second home to me,” Diaz said. “It opened my eyes to what could be my future.”
The new STEAM Center, with state-of-the-art STEAM equipment, is open to kids and teens from all seven club locations. This high-tech space provides an opportunity for youth to learn and work with laser cutters, 3D printers, sewing machines and robotics. Along with computer workstations come an open-concept design that highlights, rather than hides, the building’s computers, wiring and other back-end technology.
In addition to the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, other major contributors include Pat and Florence King, Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, the ALSAM Foundation, the Joseph and Kathleen Sorensen Legacy Foundation, and the Flying J. Impact Fund. Architecture firm PGA&W constructed the expansion project.
An anonymous donor provided funds for the Dunn Fun Zone, dedicated to former Executive Director Bob Dunn, who worked at the facility for nearly 40 years. The Fun Zone’s large video screens connected to consoles with gaming chairs will likely be a popular spot for the youth.
The updated, two-story Teen Center uses cutting-edge technology to create an exciting, inviting and age-appropriate space for older Club members. Lighting, music and displays throughout the Club can be changed at the touch of a button, which will keep the area fresh and interesting. Special features of the Teen Center include a chalkboard “graffiti wall” where members can create art.
“The teens are eager to share and show off their new space to their friends. They are especially enthusiastic about the gaming and lighting systems,” Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Club Director Andrea Whitesides said. “The staff are excited because it allows them to diversify their programming to meet the needs and interests of new kids and gives them the space to offer many activities at the same time.”
More information about the Miller Family Club can be found online at www.gslclubs.org.