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The long-awaited Boys & Girls Club of Clark County will open its doors Sept. 7, thanks to funding from local and state sources totaling $700,000 over five years.

Establishment of a Boys & Girls Club for Clark County has been a long-standing goal of the Clark County community and specifically the Clark County Strategic Plan’s Leadership Development Subcommittee.

The 9,000 square foot club building is located on the Goza Middle School campus next to the school’s gym and computer labs. Arkadelphia Public Schools also has committed funds to hire a teacher to work with students after school.

The club’s goal is to have at least 200 members by the end of the 2010-11 academic year, serving students at Goza Middle School, Central Primary School and Peake Elementary School. Funding for the project was provided by a School of the 21st Century grant from the Arkansas Department of Education, local community donors, and Southern Bancorp.

The Arkansas Department of Education awarded a $540,000 five-year grant to Arkadelphia Public Schools to be used specifically for the Boys & Girls Club. Southern Bancorp awarded a $125,000 three-year grant to help sustain the Club. Additionally, the local community raised $35,000 for the project, including donations from the Ross Foundation, the United Way of Clark County, the Cone Foundation and the Arkadelphia Noon Rotary Club.