Coupeville Boys Girls Club gets $500k grant

The Boys & Girls Club in Coupeville was allocated $500,000 for the construction of a new gymnasium.

Big things are on the horizon for the Coupeville Boys & Girls Club.

On March 6, Rep. Rick Larsen secured over $19 million for 15 projects that will benefit local communities, including Coupeville, where the local Boys & Girls Club was allocated $500,000 for the construction of a new gymnasium.

According to Marci Volmer, who oversees operations of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, community members have been talking about building a gymnasium for a decade, with many residents looking for gym space to rent.

The gymnasium will provide affordable health and fitness activities for Coupeville and Whidbey residents of all ages who want to stay active regardless of the weather conditions outside, and it will be open for team sports events, teen night activities, adult fitness groups, community events and different after school activities.

Volmer said it will look like a “regular gymnasium,” similar to those seen in schools, and it can host basketball, volleyball and pickleball games. It will also include scoreboards, plenty of storage for gym equipment and broadband.

Furthermore, the building will serve as an emergency shelter for Coupeville and Whidbey in case of disasters or extreme weather conditions.

Now, the club needs an additional $1.5 million to work on the project. Volmer expects it will be easier to secure the rest of the funds with the help of public and private partnerships.

Once the fundraiser meets its goal, the club will proceed with the design and construction of the 8,000-square-foot gymnasium, which will be located behind the club’s building at 706 South Main St. in Coupeville.

The timeline will depend on the timing of the donations, but Director of Strategic Initiatives Ken Salem believes it might take about 10 months to a year to complete construction after breaking ground.

In July 2023, the club opened a new establishment, moving out of the old fire station. It features a computer lab, a space for video games and board games, a full kitchen with snacks and a STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — center where kids can create fine art, Lego robots, 3D prints and more.

This year, according to Salem, the club will host some events in partnership with Puget Sound Energy, like a STEM or game night, where families can participate in activities and ask questions of PSE members about their services and give feedback. The utility company gave the club $10,000 for this project, Salem said.

Construction of the facility in use represented the first part of the Boys & Girls Club project in Coupeville. The gymnasium is part two, while part three will consist of building ball fields. Sometime next month, Volmer said, the club will install a playground behind the building. The playground was donated by an anonymous private donor.

Over the past 10 years, club membership has grown by almost 45%, currently serving over 300 members, according to information provided by Volmer. The gymnasium will be another place where youths from all over the island can develop relationships and skills and have fun in a safe way.

“I’m super excited about it,” Volmer said. “It really does change a lot when you have a gymnasium. It just opens up a whole new world of opportunities, not only for the kids, but for the whole community.”