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The Beaufort Teen Center will move back into the main building of the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort in January to save money, make better use of space and put teens and younger children under the same roof, organizers said last week.
The center will return to the facility at 1100 Boundary St. after spending five years two blocks away at 1211 Harrington St., said Doug Barry, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry.
"The economic environment has forced us to take a really good look at our business model," Barry said. "We're trying to be smarter about our space utilization."
The 8,000-square-foot location on Harrington Street was more than adequate for the 50 or so kids who go there daily, Barry said. The group plans to sell the building and keep the proceeds in a reserve account.
The Boundary Street building has 2,000 to 3,000 square feet available to house the new Teen Center, he said.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Jasper County, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island -- which also are part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry -- house their teen centers within their clubs, Barry said.
In Beaufort, the new teen center in the Boundary Street building will include a lounge, an area where snacks can be served and a study center. The group also hopes to build a sound studio and radio station, Barry said.
"We want to make the new center exciting and inviting for teens in the area," he said.
The move also opens up opportunities to pair teens with younger children in mentoring programs, Barry said.
Joe Mix, a board member and 25-year supporter of local Boys & Girls Clubs, said in a news release that "in each decision we make, the board evaluates our financial due diligence with our mission of giving as many local children meaning and purpose in life.
"Relocating the Beaufort Teen Center into available space of the Boys & Girls Club of Beaufort honors our donors and our mission as we use their contributions in the wisest way possible."
The Harrington Street location will close Jan. 17. The teen center area will reopen at the Boundary Street location in mid-March or as soon as renovations are complete. The club plans a series of off-site activities for teens during the interim.
The center provides a spectrum of programs. A popular one involves a partnership with Living Out UR Dreams, or LOUD, a nonprofit organization that gives teens a forum to write, produce and perform songs and poems, the release said. The Teen Center also sponsors college visits in the region and has tutors to help club members succeed in school.
Along with the move, the organization is considering expanding the Beaufort Teen Center's hours on weeknights and opening it on Saturdays, Barry said.
Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the area:
The building was purchased by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort, a broker who represented the property said.
The property had been for sale for less than a year, said Eric Gnau of Cora Bett Thomas Realty.
The church has gathered in many different places for Sunday worship, including members' homes, a synagogue and the U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort, according to a church officer.