GARDINER — The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley will receive $650,000 in federal funds to help pay for the construction of its new facility that’s scheduled to be completed later this year.

Ingrid Stanchfield, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs, said the organization had applied for the funds last year, figuring it might be a long shot.

“But if we didn’t apply we wouldn’t even have a chance,” Stanchfield said Monday. “When we got the call last week, it’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s really real!'”

Juliana Montell, who was the club’s youth of the year, speaks during a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday at the site of the new building for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley in Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

These federal funds will push the project closer to reaching its fundraising goal, even as construction is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Stanchfield said the existing building is expected to be vacated by mid-August, and the new building is expected to be open for programs Aug. 28.

When construction started in May 2021, club board members said while they had not reached the $10 million fundraising goal, they didn’t want to delay construction further.


In October 2019, the organization announced it planned to build a new, state-of-the-art building to replace the aging former Pray Street School building the Boys & Girls Clubs had occupied for two decades. The total cost was estimated at $10 million for a building that would be built next to the existing structure.

As designed, the new building will be 30% larger than the existing building. With the additional space, the Boys & Girls Clubs is expected to expand its child care offerings for children 6 weeks old and older and expand its capacity to serve school-age children in after-school programs and senior citizens who also use the facility.

Five months later, the global COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and fundraising was halted. It also delayed the expected April 2020 start of construction.

Gardiner Mayor Patricia Hart said child care and community services like those the Boys & Girls Clubs provide are a fundamental component of the local economy.

“There is a great need for child care, after-school care and recreation services in our community,” Hart said. “I’m delighted that the dream of the new building and expanded services is becoming a reality.”

Just about a year ago, city officials committed to support the project with a $500,000 donation.


In announcing the funding, Sen. Susan Collins said community institutions are wonderful assets that bring families and neighbors together.

“I strongly advocated for this funding for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley, which provides childcare for working families, creates a safe, structured environment for children to play and learn, and offers services to seniors,” Collins said in a release.

As the ranking member on the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, Collins co-authored the Housing Appropriations bill, which included the funding.

“The Capital Campaign Committee and our board of directors are incredibly grateful for the efforts of Sen. Collins to secure funds from the federal government to assist with the construction of the new home of the Kennebec Valley Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Gena Canning, one of the chairmen of the Capital Campaign Cabinet for the Boys & Girls Clubs. “These funds are vital to providing additional quality child care spaces and improving the recreational opportunities for all children and teens in our region.”

Stanchfield said the organization is continuing to raise money to pay for fixtures, furniture and supplies for the new building. But, she noted, the federal grant ensures that the organization will not have to borrow money to complete the project.

“We will continue to provide positive, stable programs for children of all ages, which is more important now than ever before,” she said.

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