Nonprofit to lease land for $1 per year for new facility near campus.
Jacksonville University Boys & Girls Club, a 20,000-square-foot, $2.5 million facility, will be built on university property at Justina Terrace near the campus, JU President Tim Cost announced Tuesday.
The facility, scheduled to open in 2019, will serve as an example of the university’s commitment to the renewal of Arlington, Cost said.
The university will lease most of the 4-acre site across University Boulevard North from the campus to the nonprofit at $1 per year for 50 years.
The Boys & Girls Club will use the southern 3 acres of the parcel, with JU retaining the remaining acre for potential sale or future development.
“We at the university are proud to team up with this great, community-based organization, the Boys & Girls Clubs, to help further enhance the neighborhood we call home,” said Cost, who created the partnership with Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida President Paul Martinez, a fellow JU alumnus.
More than 100 teens ages 12-18 are expected to be served each day at the facility, which will include a learning center, tech lab, fitness area, art studio, robotics lab, lounge and gymnasium with a full basketball court, among other amenities.
Programs offered will focus on careers and education, character and leadership, health and life skills, sports and the arts.
“As an alumni of both Jacksonville University and the Boys & Girls Club, I am extremely excited about the opportunity this partnership presents for teens in Jacksonville,” Martinez said. “Through this generous gift we will have the opportunity to expose our teens to resources that Jacksonville University has to offer, from students and faculty to volunteers and career opportunities.”
Inclusive to the agreement, JU students, faculty and staff will serve as mentors and partners to the youth.
Plans include the university offering leadership expertise and resources in multiple academic areas.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida has raised nearly $1 million for the facility and anticipates reaching its financial goal of $2.5 million by the end of next year.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with an opening later that year.
Cost said that the partnership is part of a larger effort by JU to offer services and expertise to the Arlington community.
JU students, faculty and staff donated more than 30,000 service hours in 2016-17.
Meanwhile, JU has provided more than $150,000 in support to charitable organizations through sponsorships and donations, and $25,000 in in-kind donations for nonprofits using the campus.
JU said it continues working with business and civic partners and investors to promote economic development, such as the new Dolphin Pointe Landing senior community north of campus, the recently purchased and renamed Treehouse Apartments, the planned Jackson Commons off-campus student housing development, the Arlington Community Academy and local churches.
“This is important work for us, central to our overall strategic plan, because we believe JU can play a deeply positive role in the redevelopment and resurgence of Arlington, just as you’ve seen many fine private universities do in other parts of the country,” said Cost.
“We believe that as a great institution of learning, we should radiate out from our core, most importantly our students, and into the community,” he said.
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