Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield $7 million expansion 70% complete: 'Going to be life-changing'

RIDGEFIELD – Additional space, expanded programming, connectivity and supervision are all crucial in the design for the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield’s $7 million expansion, which is on schedule to be finished mid-June. The project is 70 percent complete.

“To see it finally here, to see it nearing the completion and have it be open and used, it’s going to be really a dream come true and it’s going to be life-changing for the kids and the community,” said Michael Flynn, chief executive officer, who took Hearst Connecticut Media on a recent tour of the facility. “... This will just allow the club to grow and thrive and do more for the young people and the community at large."

Hawley Construction Corporation, a Danbury-based construction company, began construction of the addition this past August. Flynn said construction is about 70 percent complete and is the project is on schedule to be finished in time for the club’s summer camp program, which serves about 400 kids a day and starts June 26.

Flynn said the 11,000-square-foot addition will tie into the 87-year-old club’s existing facility. He said a crucial part of the addition’s design was “to have everything on one facility.”

“What we thought was really important… was to have it be flexible space,” Flynn said. “I think it fits the need about as perfect as it can get with how it’s been designed, how it’s been laid out.”

 'Everything imaginable'

The addition will also allow the club to repurpose some of the rooms inside the original facility. The club’s original Tween Center will be repurposed as a counseling room while the original Teen Room will be repurposed as a multi-purpose space for kindergarten- to fourth-graders.

Flynn said some of the rooms in the existing facility will be outfitted to benefit the club’s younger members, while rooms like the Game Room and Art Room will remain unchanged.

On the first floor of the addition, Flynn said the new auxiliary gym will “lend itself to everything imaginable in terms of movement and activities” as well as additional community space and club programming. Three bathrooms are being installed outside the auxiliary gym, and fifth- through eighth-graders will have their own space just down the hallway.

Flynn said the new addition will allow the club to better serve its tween and teen population, and will double the club’s program space and create a lot more community access to the public. 

Flynn said the new Tween Center will be “a mix of education and recreational activities” and provide an open space for the club’s tweens to call their own.

The addition’s foyer will house a café and meeting space for the club’s members, along with an elevator and a monumental staircase leading up to  the addition’s second floor. In addition to the rooftop play area, the second floor will have a Technology Café and the new Teen Center for the club’s high school-aged members.

Flynn described the Technology Café as a multi-purpose center that will provide more flexibility to the club’s members while also serving as a space for the club to host seminars and other events.

Flynn said the addition is being built on the club’s existing blacktop play area. A new rooftop deck is being constructed as an outdoor play area on the addition’s second floor, and Flynn said the multi-purpose field at the back end of the addition is being restored for kids to use.

Club growth, project funding

Flynn said the club’s need for additional physical space is overdue with the amount of kids the clubs serves on a daily basis. Over the last 15 years, he said the club’s membership and daily attendance has grown almost 400 percent – particularly in the club’s sixth- through 12th-grade population, who represent half of the club’s 3,000-member enrollment.

About 90 percent of the $7 million project was fundraised by the club, Flynn said. He said the club has a dedicated website for its Growth Campaign where more information is provided about the project and how to make a donation.

“It truly has become an integrated part of our community,” said Christine Carnicelli, chair of the Growth Campaign, about the club. 

Those interested in donating to the project can visit