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Jan 3

Penacook Community Center to merge with Boys and Girls Club – Concord Monitor

The Penacook Community Center will dissolve and become a division of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire early this year.

The afterschool and before school programs for Penacook Elementary School and Washington Street Elementary School will transfer to the Boys and Girls Club location at 55 Bradley Street beginning on Jan. 3. The Penacook infant program will also move to Bradley Street, while toddlers and preschoolers will go to Eastman Early Learning Center on 15 Shawmut Street.

At some point after the merger is finalized, the plan is to return the centers childcare programs to Penacook.

Rates for the centers early childcare programs will increase by $10 a week, while afterschool program fees will stay the same.Boys and Girls Club CEO ChristopherEmond said that a $25,000 grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation kept fees from going up more forparents.

I wanted to make sure that the transition was as painless as possible, Emond said. Weve made the commitment that the fee will not exceed that increase for the year.

Elderly adults who participated in the senior program at Penacook Community Center can enroll in the free programatGoodlife Programs and Activities at 254 N. State St in Concord. Participants had their annual $45 membership fee from Penacook Community Center refunded.

The initial financial hit of the pandemic, the prospect of expensive building repairsand difficulty hiring a newexecutive director all led to the decision to dissolve Penacook Community Center, saidCathy Furlong, president of the organizations board of directors.

The easiest way to say it: COVID was the final straw for us, Furlongsaid. Halting programsin March 2020 led toa loss in revenue. Even when the center was allowed to open months later, required staffing ratios meant the organizationcouldaccept only half its regular capacity for children while at the same time, it needed to payallits staff.

Although federal grants, donations andPaycheck Protection Programmoneyhelped keep the organization afloat, Furlong said the community center was still playing catch-up from last yearslosses.

The tired conditionof the centers four buildings made the financial outlook even worse. One buildinghassignificant structural issues, while others are more than 100 years old and need upgrades to theirelectrical, plumbing and heating systems.

Team Engineering of Bedford has evaluated all the buildings andwill be working with the Boys and Girls Club and the Penacook Community Centerboardto establish the full extent of the renovations required.

Faced with looming new expenses and unable to hire anew executive director, the board had to consider other options to avoid closing its doors completely.

Our top priority was childcare for the families and jobs for our staff, Furlong said.We came to the decision that it was probably going to be difficult to get the money to do the repairs we needed, so we made the decision to look into merging with someone else.

Opened in 1954, the center has served many purposes throughout the years, hosting dances, sports games, summer camps and exercise classes.

It's always been evolving, it never stayed the same,Furlong said.Itsalways looking at, what does the community need,and then its building from there.

The centers gym, one of the buildings that needs repairs, was built by the labor of Penacookvolunteers during nights and weekends.

Its really Penacook,said Ward 1 Councilor Brent Todd.The community really built that organization from the ground up.

Emond said that the Boys and Girls Clubhas experience merging with other childcare organizations while allowing them to run their own operationsand retain their titles, like it did withLakes Region Child Care.

Whats important to us as an organization is that they not lose their identity, Emond said.It'll continue to operate as thePenacook Community Center.

Over the next few months, the two organizations will nail down the details of the merger, hire and onboard staff and determine the extent of the construction needed on the centers old buildings.

The goal is definitely to have a presence in Penacook,were just not sure what thats going to look like right now, Furlong said. Thetimeline for returning the childcare programs to Penacook coulddepend onbuilding repairs and how quickly staff can be hired.

Theres a sadness because we know a part of PCC is ending, Furlong said.It's a transition for everybody but I feel that its going to bewonderful. When the dust settles, its going to be great for everybody.

See more here:
Penacook Community Center to merge with Boys and Girls Club - Concord Monitor

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