Boys & Girls Club reach PEAK

Outside it smells like fresh bark and inside as minor finishing touches are being completed kids wander around to various activities in the new Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club PEAK building.

The space, which almost doubles the amount of square footage the Club used to have, is chalk full of areas specifically designed to maximize usage. Executive Director of the Club, Blair Rasmussen said the big difference between the new building and the old is that the new one was designed exactly for this purpose.

Complete with a gym, child care center, music room that doubles as a soundproof studio and various other activities to entertain children, PEAK has it all.

Rasmussen said one of the challenges the Club faced when designing the new space was how to fit the needs of all kids, those who want to participate in large group activities, while at the same time keeping those who may prefer solo exercise busy. Located on the first floor at the end of the gym is the fitness center, overlooking the main gym floor, which will allow kids at the Club to use cardio machines in case the larger group scale activity isn’t their thing.

The new gym features two full-size high schools courts with enough baskets to break down into smaller age appropriate court sizes. The floor, Rasmussen said, is a synthetic, looks like real wood, but makes the maintenance a breeze. Rather than shutting the gym down once a year to clean the floor the Club will be able to simply wash the new floor down.

While the Club officially opened to summer camps and other activities on July 16, Rasmussen said they are easing into things until the grand opening at the end of August.

“We’re moving slow, not quite full blown yet, still putting on the finishing touches,” he said.

The project, which was budgeted for $16 million, earned almost half of the total cost prior to construction in donations, and the second half would be collected via pledges from donors. A loan from U.S. Bank covered the remaining $8.2 million during construction. Rasmussen said that the project’s donations and pledges are coming in as expected and PEAK’s budget is where it was expected to be.

The new building is located at 4120 86th Ave. S.E.

Photos by Chad Coleman

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