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Blaine pavilion expected to open by November

Colacurcio Brother Construction’s Tim Wolf, left, and Scott Electric’s Randy Gray work inside the new Pavilion at the Blaine Community Center under construction Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015.
Colacurcio Brother Construction’s Tim Wolf, left, and Scott Electric’s Randy Gray work inside the new Pavilion at the Blaine Community Center under construction Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. The Bellingham Herald

When some of the kids want to do karaoke at this small branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County, then all of the kids have to do it.

That will change once the Pavilion at the Blaine Community Center has been built. The 4,400-square-foot building, expected to open by November, will provide some much-needed elbow room for the club as well as give others in Blaine a place to recreate and gather.

“Facilities in that part of the county are pretty limited,” said Mauri Ingram, president and CEO of Whatcom Community Foundation, which is handling the fundraising campaign for the project.

When done, the building will be used most by the Blaine Boys & Girls Club as well as the Blaine Senior Center. Both organizations share the same building at 763 G St., which is where the pavilion is now under construction. The Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District also will offer classes there. The public also can rent the building.

It will be owned by the city of Blaine, which has contributed $165,000 to the project, including $115,000 in August so construction of the big, open, one-story building with high ceilings could be completed.

“The Boys & Girls Club provides an important service for kids after school,” said Michael Jones, community development director for Blaine. “They expressed their need for additional space.”

The Blaine branch has the largest per capita enrollment in Whatcom County but the smallest space, according to Brian Johnson, board member for the Blaine club.

This expansion, which will cost up to $560,000, will give the club more room.

“It’s going to allow us to serve all the kids in that community who want to come to the Boys & Girls Club,” said Heather Powell, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County.

Building out into the adjacent space will give the club a place to send kids for gym activities that are out of the rain, and it will open other possibilities for the club.

“It will allow for a lot more recreation year-round than what we have been able to do,” Powell said. “It will create a division where we can do both the quiet and the active thing because we now have the space.”

The pavilion was originally going to be an open space — hence the name — but was later enclosed to make the space safer for kids and usable year-round.

A number of organizations donated to the project, as well as the city.

“It’s really been quite a team effort to get this done,” Ingram said.

Contributors included former Blaine basketball great and NBA player Luke Ridnour, who convinced the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to donate, for a combined total of $150,000; $65,000 from longtime Blaine resident Mel Hollinger and his Rotary Club of Whatcom County North; and $25,000 from BP Cherry Point.

In addition to the main user groups, donations also came from Chuckanut Health Foundation, McEachern Charitable Trust, and the Jerry H. Walton Foundation.

Fundraising is continuing for the pavilion. Ingram said the money will be used to help finish up the space.

Donate by going online to the Whatcom Community Foundation’s website at whatcomcf.org and clicking on the “Blaine Pavilion” blog post on the right.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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