Aiming to provide more accessibility to the Mission Boys & Girls Club, the city is expanding the gym at Bannworth Park.
At last week’s city council meeting, a bid to expand the Bannworth Gym was approved. Mission received nine bid responses for this project, and it was awarded to RG Enterprises, doing business as G&G Contractors.
The expansion will include four classrooms, an office, a computer lab for students who wish to utilize the after-school programs offered and restrooms. Currently, the after school program is available at the Mission Boys & Girls Club location off of Conway, and the Bannworth Gym only houses indoor courts.
This project will cost $409,000. $125,000 to $150,000 is being paid for from fundraising efforts from the Boys & Girls Club, and the remaining cost is coming from a bond issuance from last year, according to City Manager Randy Perez.
“We’re here to provide these services to the community,” Perez said. “Our children are important, this is one of the projects that we’ve been wanting to do.”
The city’s engineering office designed the expansion in-house. Mayor Armando O’caña and Mission Boys & Girls Club President Albert Peña said this project has been in the works for a “long time.”
“During the summer program, when we have kids in that unit, I was told that they had no classrooms or tables or chairs to use,” Peña said. “I was told that they were being put in corners and sitting on the floor. Myself and my fellow board members felt that this was something that we could bring and try and improve that site.”
Currently, the Boys & Girls Club of Mission serves 6,000 children in the year. This expansion will mean the city will have two full-service units for the club.
During the council meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza asked at one point for the item to be put on hold in order to have more questions answered.
“I think we need to move forward with the project,” O’caña said. “I think it’s been at least three years since we started with this project already, and to delay it based on if we need to discuss it a bit more… I would like to see it go forward and be awarded tonight.”
O’caña said the project came to the city’s attention because a 5th grade student from the Sharyland Independent School District came forward with a concern as to why he was sent from the Sharyland area to the classrooms in the Conway location.
“We deserve to move forward with it,” O’caña said. “Staff has done diligence, and we used in-house people to save money, the Boys & Girls Club is pitching in their share.”
When the item was put up for a vote, the council unanimously voted to award the bid and start on the expansion. Perez said it would take approximately four to six months to be completed, and students would be taken to the other location if construction barrs people from entering the Bannworth Gym when the project is underway.
“It’s a benefit for the community and our children,” Perez said. “Children from the area closer to that location will benefit. It’s accessibility for a different part of our city.”
Perez, who was an attendee of the Boys & Girls Club growing up, said he sees the benefits of afterschool activities for Mission children.
“It teaches you the fundamentals of not only sports, but your daily life skills,” Perez said. “After school programs that prepare you for school are an extra resource for children.”
“You go into the sports, you go into the after school program and you develop friendships there,” Perez added. “It’s an extra benefit for our children.”
Currently, the after school program runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3 to 6 p.m. on Fridays. After school recreational use is open from 5 to 9 p.m., and during the summer and holidays they are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.