Isabel Jensen, left, and Madalyn Wright play cards at the the Red Barn Youth Center. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

After being in operation for more than a year, the Red Barn Youth Center in Key Center needs to expand its space.

According to Red Barn Executive Director Laura Condon, the plan is to build out a 2,650-square-foot space into a multi-purpose gym that will double the current size of the facility.

The group raised $11,000 at a recent Raise-the-Roof fundraiser and also received an anonymous donation of $25,000.

“This gets us started,”Condon said.

The money will be used to clean out the building that will become the multipurpose room. Currently the space is being used for storage. Condon said, “We’re going to use the money to clean it out and make it ready to start building.”

The first step was to bring in a site manager, Mark Plummer.

Now the search is on for volunteers who have building skills.

“We’re looking for volunteers who are framers, insulators, sheet-rockers, plumbers, electricians and general handyman people who can donate time or materials,”Condon said.

The new space will probably house a half-court basketball court, an area for games and possibly an arts center.

Condon noted that the Red Barn’s outdoor space is completely finished.

“We have our garden and, thanks to the Cheney Family Foundation we have a sand volleyball court –– the only one on the KP,”she said. “We’re trying to figure out how it can be open to the public.

“We also got all the hydroseeding donated for about 20,000 square feet of play area for soccer and other outdoor sports,”she said.

The center is open after school and during the summer, offering homework help and several classes.

Two Waters Arts Alliance teaches weekly art classes; the KP Library comes in once a month with programs and Condon is working with the Gig Harbor YMCA and Boys & Girls Club for additional activities.

Last year Condon and her staff conducted a survey and learned that, among kids who come to the Red Barn on a regular basis, grades went up and good behavior and self-esteem increased tremendously, she said. “Across the board, every student, except the ones that are already straight-A students, saw improvements.”

To make a donation to the Red Barn visit redbarnkp.org or call 884-1594.

To volunteer to help create the new multipurpose room, call site manager Mark Plummer at 405-1651.

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