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THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
Borough President Helen Marshall and Senator Joseph Addabbo (center) join South Queens Boys & Girls Club Board President George Russo (left) and chair emeritus Joseph Ferrara at the construction site of the upcoming state-of-the-art addition.

After decades of building a solid foundation for the community, the South Queens Boys & Girls Club (SQBGC) is finally getting a new foundation of its own.

The SQBGC was able to take down one existing wing of its building, which will be replaced by a 35,000-square-foot state-of-the-art addition.

In the new area, there will be three-and-a-half stories filled with a new education center, a regulation size gym and administrative space.

The remaining wing will be redone after the new section is built, and will house a performance arts center, community space, technology centers and more.

“What [the club has] provided for our residents and the help they’ve given. . . just to expand that tradition of help to the community, it’ll create a long-standing future,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo, an advocate of the project.

Addabbo joined Borough President Helen Marshall and SQBGC officials on Tuesday, September 18 at a foundation pouring to mark the project’s beginning. The building, located on Atlantic Avenue in South Richmond Hill, has been home to the Boys & Girls Club since 1957, and administrators say a renovation is long overdue.

“I promised myself that before I left, I would see this club rebuilt,” said Joseph Ferrara, SQBGC chair emeritus, who has been with the club since the late 1960s,

The SQBGC has raised $8.64 million for the project, with the help of local officials.

“This funding . . . will provide a rich harvest of talented youngsters who will be better able to achieve their potential and success as productive and caring individuals, who will make their mark on society,” said Marshall.

“I think the kids will be here enjoying this facility for years to come. If we can keep them off the streets, then we did our job,” said Ferrara. “I’m very proud of this day.”

Structural steel for the addition is scheduled to rise up in the fall of this year, and occupancy is expected for late 2013.

“When we cut the ribbon here, I’ll never forget that,” said Addabbo.

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