Work begins on multimillion-dollar Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club expansion

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 2,167 views 

(from left) Sam Sicard, board chairman of the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club and president and CEO of First National Bank of Fort Smith, Fort Smith Mayor George McGill, and former FSBGC CEO Jerry Glidewell participate in Monday’s (Dec. 12) groundbreaking ceremony.

Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club kicked off construction of a $3.1 million renovation project on the former Jeffrey Unit on North O Street with a groundbreaking ceremony Monday (Dec. 12). The work is expected to be complete in late 2023/early 2024.

The construction project will add 3,600 square feet to the building. The new space will include new classrooms; music and dance space; an innovation technology room; and new admin offices.

“This project started with a vision, a vision of Sam Sicard to honor Jerry Glidewell. In honor of Jerry, we are building an all-inclusive, state-of-the-art Boys and Girls Club. A building which expresses and defines what the community needs with Boys and Girls Clubs. Our new unit will be an all-encompassing space for STEAM programing – science, technology, engineering, art and math; music and dance, an innovative technology lab, and new administrative space,” said Beth Presley, CEO of Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club.

Futsal courts will be added behind the renovated space. Futsal courts are smaller-sided soccer courts and can be used for other purposes, including pickleball and basketball courts.

When completed, the new and renovated space will be 14,500 square feet in total. Construction will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in 13 months, Presley said.

Travis Beshears with Beshears Construction, a member of the FSBGC Board of Directors and lead contractor on the project, said the building will have a new concession stand that can open inside to the gym and outside to the new courts. He said the gym will get a new floor, and the entire building will have a new roof and windows. New heating and air conditioning also will be installed.

“This building was built in 1959. I think it can do with a new roof,” Beshears said.

Once the building is opened, it will be officially named the Jeffrey-Glidewell unit after Jerry Glidewell, the former executive director who retired at the end of August after 43 years working for the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club.

“It’s very humbling,” Glidewell said of the building’s naming. “I’m really excited about this part of our city getting a (newly renovated, state-of-the-art) facility to benefit the kids on the north side (of Fort Smith). We appreciate all the donors who have stepped up to raise $3 million to make it happen.”