Fundraising will give South Beloit Boys & Girls Club $500,000 facelift

JIM FRANZ Co-Sports Editor | June 20, 2021

SOUTH BELOIT — Supporters of the South Beloit Boys & Girls Club will be comforted by the fact the club at 1161 Dorr Road wasn’t forgotten in the Stateline Boys & Girls Club’s current capital campaign.

Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand says $500,000 from the $5 1/2 million project has been earmarked for updates and renovations at the existing South Beloit Boys & Girls Club.

“From the outset of our capital improvement project our focus was to make sure we put money into the South Beloit facility for its long-term sustainability,” Rand said. “The building has withstood the test of time a bit better than the one in Beloit. We feel like by putting money into renovations and updates it’s going to stay that way and extend its impact over the next 30 years.”

Fundraising for the South Beloit club will receive a boost on July 30 when a Casino Night Fundraiser is held there from 4-8 p.m. That night will feature the unveiling of a new name for the facility, honoring long-time unit director Bruce Nichols. The club will be known as the Bruce Nichols South Beloit Boys & Girls Club.

Rand has a special affinity for the South Beloit club. Born in Rockford, he moved to Rockton in the fourth grade and spent a lot of time as a “club kid” in South Beloit in the mid-1970s.

“It was all about acceptance,” Rand said. “I was a Rockton kid and I was accepted there. Midway through fifth grade we moved to Beloit and I virtually lived at the club there. But I never forgot how important the South Beloit club is to that community.”

Rand said the major facelift is long overdue.

“The last capital campaign was 1999 when it changed from the Boys Club to Boys & Girls Club,” he said. “When you’re running 100 to 125 kids in here every night, pre-COVID, that wears on a place.”

The improvements at South Beloit include a new parking lot, new HVAC unit, new flooring throughout, including the gyms, glass backboards in the main gym and all the ceiling tile replaced.

“There will be some updating in the lobby as well and new paint everywhere,” Rand said.

He said every effort is made to duplicate the opportunities offered at the Beloit club. He works with South Beloit Unit Director Meghan Moffett-Minter and Program Director Evelyn Garcia-Martinez.

“Both places have a computer lab. Both have gyms. Both have game rooms. Both have STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) labs. Part of the process is getting feedback from the kids. We evaluate what they like and don’t like. They vote with their feet whether they come through the door or not.”