Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club facility officially renamed Jeffrey-Glidewell Unit

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 670 views 

Jerry Glidewell, former CEO of the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club

Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club (FSBGC) officials and supporters on Tuesday (March 26) gathered to formally rename the renovated Jeffrey Club as the Jeffrey-Glidewell Unit. The name change honors Jerry Glidewell, who spent 43 years leading the FSBGC until retiring in 2022.

Work on the unit work began in late 2022 to renovate and add new amenities to the building constructed in 1959. The estimated cost of the work is $3.1 million. The work added 3,600 square feet to the building, and the new space will include new classrooms, music and dance space, an innovation technology room, and new admin offices. The facility is located at 4905 N. O St.

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. The new and renovated space expands the club to 14,500 square feet.

According to the FSBGC, Glidewell helped push club membership over 3,000 and “spearheaded the expansion of programs, volunteers, and sponsorship opportunities,” to include the development of Hunts Park, and other ballfields.

“For 35 years, Jerry Glidewell diligently led the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club in serving thousands upon thousands of children throughout the Fort Smith region. He did much of this work at the Jeffrey Club unit out of a poorly ventilated office not much bigger than most closets,” said Sam Sicard, president and CEO of First National Bank of Fort Smith and FSBGC board member. “We believe recognizing Jerry in this permanent way is deserving and appropriate. While Jerry is enjoying retirement, the culture and reputation he built at the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club will continue well into the future.”

Sicard said the idea to expand the unit came from a discussion with Glidewell before he retired. Glidewell told Sicard that he’d like to see the Jeffrey unit expanded so it could serve more children with more programs and amenities. Sicard and Glidewell traveled to Oklahoma City to tour a recently expanded club. From that tour began a plan to raise money to renovate the Jeffrey Unit.

“I told Jerry we had to raise the money before he retired because they could say no to me, but most of our supporters could not say no to Jerry,” Sicard noted in a statement provided to Talk Business & Politics.

Sicard said a donor who made a large contribution requested that the unit include Glidewell’s name to recognize his decades of service to the club and the community.

“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,” Beth Presley, CEO of Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club, said in a statement.