ESPN says it has donated $1 million to help fund construction of a new 38,000-sq-ft family center for the Boys and Girls Club in Bristol, Conn., the same town in which ESPN’s headquarters are located. Construction is expected to begin in spring or summer 2013 and be completed later that year. The construction manager is a joint venture of O&G Industries Inc., Torrington, Conn., and The S. Carpenter Construction Company, Bristol, Conn. Amara Associates, West Hartford, Conn., is the architect.

Photo by John Atashian/ESPN
Last year, volunteers from The Boys and Girls Club and ESPN built a playground in Bristol, Conn.

The club hopes to begin the subcontractor bidding process this November, says Michael Suchopar, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club and Family Center in Bristol.

The facility will replace an 85-year-old building that no longer has the space or the resources to meet the children’s needs, ESPN says. It will include a technology hub, a teen center, and an arts and crafts center, as well as a 14,000-sq-ft field house that will be connected to the main facility.

The project is valued at $9.25 million. The club has so far raised a total of $5 million from donations from the state, local families, Thomaston Savings Bank, and Farmington Bank, Suchopar says. He says the club plans to launch a campaign for the remaining funds.

The existing facility will remain in use throughout construction of the center, Suchopar says. The facility currently hosts 500-1,000 children a day, but that number is expected to increase once the new structure is built, he says.

In 2009, ESPN contributed $400,000 to the club for land acquisition. The company has a long-standing history with the club and its Bristol family center, says Ben Cafardo, an ESPN spokesman. “Thousands of ESPN employees volunteer with the club, so this is something that is important to the company and the community,” Cafardo says.

Last year, volunteers from both the club and ESPN built a playground in Bristol in one seven-hour day, Cafardo says. The Walt Disney Co. and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit group that helps communities build playgrounds, provided support for the project.

Separately, work is progressing on ESPN’s $100-million digital center, also located in Bristol. The 193,000-sq-ft project, which broke ground in August 2011, lost some time due to a snowstorm last October but the project remains on track for completion in 2014, Cafardo says.