Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire opens new location

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 4:42 PM CDT
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The Boys & Girls Club of the Sioux Empire had an exciting transition as they had their first day in their new Empower campus.

The new Empower campus is actually located on the former School for the Deaf Campus in Sioux Falls.

Today, kids experienced their first day in their new classrooms.

Rebecca Wimmer, Sioux Empire Boys & Girls Clubs CEO, said, “To hear their voices in the hallways and to see them walking through, it’s just really exciting to be here today.”

When looking at new locations, this area offered new opportunities.

Wimmer said, “It was really a chance to be with different non-profit agencies, being able to work together as well as get into a space that would enable us to better serve our kids.”

By selling two of their locations; the 14th Street Learning Center and Eastside Learning Center, they were able to combine all services into the single Empower campus.

Kristy Bjorum, Early learning program Development Director, said, “If you have siblings and they’re under the same roof, then you don’t have to go to two separate places.”

The new campus has also offers more space.

“We were in some older school buildings that didn’t always meet our needs of our kids as well as they could have,” said Wimmer.

She added, “The classroom sizes are perfect for what we need.”

But, making this big of a transition during a time of so much change and uncertainty brings it’s fair share of challenges.

Wimmer said, “It definitely makes you question whether now is the time to make that leap. Fortunately or unfortunately we were far enough into it that we couldn’t really back out.”

They’ve restricted the number individuals allowed in their building, as well as staff and children get their temperatures taken three times a day.

Staff quickly realized moving during a time like this was really what the community needed; consistency.

Wimmer said, “Kids need a place to go, a place that's safe. Our community needs families at work. Many of the families who's children are here right now are essential care workers and so it's important for us to be here and be that consistent presence for them."

Official community tours and building ribbon cutting dates are pending based on community health regarding COVID-19. They will be announced at a later date.

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