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Boys and Girls Club of Ardmore move into permanent location

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
The children and staff of the Boys and Girls Club of Ardmore held a ribbon cutting at their new permanent location,the former Ardmore Christian School, Monday morning.

The Boys and Girls Club of Ardmore held a ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of moving into their new, permanent location, the former Ardmore Christian School. The campus will also be the new home of the Texoma Autism and Behavioral Intervention School and the office of Impact Ardmore.

The Carter County branches of the Boys and Girls Club had previously operated in the area until the summer of 2018. After reopening under the direction of the Boys and Girls Club of Red River Valley in early 2019, the Ardmore club reopened in a temporary location at Jefferson Elementary School before moving to the former location of First Christian Church, the YMCA, and most recently a space inside Broadlawn Village.

Larry Long, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Red River Valley, said he is confident that this new location will be their permanent home.

“It took a lot of hard work and people out there hustling trying to find a place, and then we met with the people from Ardmore Christian School,” Long said. “They were great to work with, and we’ve got it on a lease to purchase agreement. We’ll be having some fundraisers soon to pay it off and have it ourselves.”

Long said one of the biggest benefits of the new building is the space, which includes 13,500 square feet and its own playground.

“The kids will have an art room for art,” Long said. “They’ll have a room just for education. Preteens will have their own room and teenagers will have their own room. There will also be a cafeteria to fix nutritious meals here two times a day during the summer and holidays, and during the school year we’ll have a nutritious meal for them after school.”

Chris Witherspoon, a member of the board of directors, said the new building will also allow the Boys and Girls Club of Ardmore to take more children.

“Now we’re able to take more kids in here in the Ardmore area,” Witherspoon said. “It (the old building) was really small, and we had to turn away kids because we didn’t have the room for them, and that’s certainly not the goal here in our community. We never want to turn children away. Now we can take those kids in and provide them with the things they want to do, and the things they need in their lives — help with homework, meals, socializing in a controlled environment.”

Misty Apala, executive director of Impact Ardmore, said her organization has been partnering with the Boys and Girls Club since the outbreak of COVID-19 to help with their lunches and food distribution programs. She believes having an office in their building will lead to more interaction and partnerships in the future.

“My hope is to partner with the Boys and Girls Club as a whole — not just with the team that’s running the club but with the parents and kids as well,” Apala said. “Impact Ardmore likes to go out and do mission work, local outreach and community service. We are also a resource linkage to other organizations. So my hope is that we are able to provide resource information to the other organizations in our town for the parents and the children that are part of the Boys and Girls Club.”