Boys and Girls Club of Dane County opens new location

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) -- After nine months of construction, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County celebrated the grand opening of its newest location in Sun Prairie Wednesday.

The new location is the largest facility in the organization's history, and it is also the first in the area to feature a preschool. Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County, said he wants the space to be a "country club for kids."

The new space includes preschool and elementary classrooms, where younger kids can read, play games and get involved in arts. The club will serve kids as young as two and a half.

The club also features a cafeteria focused on healthy eating staffed by a full-time chef, a wellness room and a technology room. The Boys and Girls Club partnered with Google on that technology room.

"We were actually here until twp o'clock in the morning last night, wanting to make sure that this facility is ready, wanting to make sure that this facility is bright and clean," Johnson said Monday at the grand opening.

The Sun Prairie location is called The McKenzie Family Boys and Girls Club. It is named after John and Jo Ellen McKenzie, who donated $1 million to the project.

Club leaders aid the purpose of the new space is to empower kids to reach their full potential.

"We are going to bus kids from school to this facility, we are going to feed them every day, we are going to educate them," Johnson said.

The club is now raising money to pay off the debt on the building—Johnson said they have to raise about $900,000. After that, they plan to build a skilled trades center and a space to teach kids to be entrepreneurs.

The Sun Prairie location is getting some final touches before opening its doors to the public on February 3.