Sunday afternoon there was little visible inside the construction site at the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis’ new teen center except a concrete slab and a big crane.

But if the winds allow it, by tonight there will be a building there.

Construction workers with Gerding Builders began hoisting the concrete exterior walls, poured at the site on Circle Boulevard, upright with the crane Monday morning.

Helen Higgins, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club, said the workers had originally planned to start Monday afternoon, but they started work early to make sure they got something done in case winds picked up in the afternoon. If the winds allow work to continue today, Higgins said the wall raising should be complete by tonight.

“It’s a little bit surreal because we’ve been working hard on the fundraising since 2013,” she said, adding the concept of the center goes back two years before that.

“You have this vision and now there is that structure rising up that represents that vision,” she said.

Higgins said the main building is still about $153,000 short of its goal and the club is still looking to raise $600,000 by June to complete the new center’s second floor, which is expected to house health care clinics through a yet-to-be-selected community partner.

Higgins said the new teen center, which will be connected to the existing club location but will have a separate entrance, will attract more teenagers to the program.

She said over the last seven years the club’s teen program has a range of 40 to 150 teen members each year. She added that 100 percent of the teen members have graduated high school for at least the last seven years.

Higgins said the club focuses on working one-on-one with every kid to identify and then remove obstacles to graduation.

“Growing up in your house, was not graduating an option with your parents?” she said. “Well, in our house, not graduating is not an option.”

Visit www.bgccorvallis.org for more information about the club.

Anthony Rimel covers education and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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