Updated: Pledge adds $500K to downtown Boys and Girls Club | Funds to construct education center

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue announced Thursday it's $500,000 closer to constructing a new downtown clubhouse thanks to a pledge from the C. Keith Birkenfeld Memorial Trust.

Birkenfeld was a former Bellevue teacher who died in 2005, leaving his estate to be distributed through annual grants to nonprofits.

"He was an educator here, and we thought that was a really nice connection with what we're trying to do here, especially with projects like Project Learn," said Ryan Scott, chief operations officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue.

The $500,000 grant from the trust, managed by The Seattle Foundation, will go toward construction of the downtown clubhouse's Education Center, which will be named the C. Keith Birkenfeld Learning Center.

Construction of a 21,500-square-foot boys and girls clubs gymnasium continues at the Hidden Valley Sports Park, under a partnership with the city of Bellevue, which will also use the facility for sports events.

The gym is anticipated to open by January, at which point construction of a new clubhouse north of the gym is expected to ramp up, Scott said. He added the clubhouse to be replaced on 100th Avenue Northeast was built in the 60s and last renovated about 40 years ago.

"We wanted to replace it with a building that is a little bit smarter with a little better design," Scott said.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue hopes to complete its $20 million fundraising campaign for the gym and clubhouse in 2015.

"We've still got some room to grow. This is a nice piece of it," Scott said of the Birkenfeld trust pledge. "We have some funds committed to complete the first piece of it."

The 100th Avenue Northeast Clubhouse will continue to operate until construction of the new building is completed.



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