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June 7, 2004

Contacts: Viterbo University, Gary Klein @ 608-796-3074,
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse, Lisa Sauer @ 608-785-3161


  • Groundbreaking June 7, completion set for July 2005
  • Fundraising reaches $6.4 million
  • La Crosse Community Foundation announces $100,000 challenge grant
  • Community-wide raffle introduced

LA CROSSE, Wis -- Viterbo University and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse broke ground today for the nation’s first collaborative building project between a club and a university, and that news was coupled with several other major announcements.
Officials revealed that the new building will be named the Amie Mathy Center for Recreation and Education. Amie founded Mathy Construction Company in 1945. An engineer by trade, he served on a number of local, state, and national boards, particularly in areas of transportation where he was able to share his expertise.  He passed away in 1987 and members of his family have been involved in a number of activities at both the Boys & Girls Clubs and Viterbo University. His son Chuck, served on Viterbo’s Board of Trustees and his grandson, Scott, is a board member and an alum of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse.

In other news, fundraising for the collaborative project continues to gather momentum. The La Crosse Community Foundation has announced a $100,000 dollar-for-dollar endowment challenge grant, the largest in the organization’s history.  “This is a critical community-neighborhood project, and we are pleased to support it,” said Sheila Garrity, director of the foundation.
Currently, $6.4 of the $7.5 million needed for the project has been raised, and John Desmond, co-chair of the fundraising committee, indicated confidence that the challenge grant, along with a community-wide raffle will bring the drive to a successful close.  “The last stage--we have $1.1 million to go--is traditionally the most difficult, but this is a project that everyone seems to want to support because it serves such an important need.”
Desmond indicated organizers planned the raffle, one of the largest ever promoted in the area, as a way to get more people involved.  A car, truck, and boat are several of the items that will be given away at the August 28 drawing.
The building project has been on the fast track ever since plans were announced last July and the momentum has pleased even its most ardent supporters.
“I have been pleasantly surprised at the groundswell of support. It’s really rewarding to know that people see the need and have so much confidence in Viterbo University and the Boys & Girls Clubs to do this project well and to do it right,” said Terry Erickson, executive director of the club.
For Bill Medland, president of Viterbo, the project is a dream-come-true. “This is such a ‘win-win’ proposition. Our students, and the youth of the neighborhood, all need space and programs which promote physical, intellectual and social well being. The Amie L. Mathy Center for Recreation and Education will offer some unbelievable possibilities, such as Viterbo students mentoring and tutoring the youth.”
Supporters of the historic joint collaborative, cite a number of benefits that will result from the project. The Boys & Girls Clubs will secure permanent and much needed space to serve the youth of La Crosse’s south side, and Viterbo, which has doubled its enrollment over the past 12 years, will be able to secure much needed space to alleviate the serious overcrowded conditions which exist in its current Student Activities Center.

The new building will include three collegiate-size gymnasiums, a teen center, a cardiovascular fitness room, a 1/8 mile walking and jogging track, game rooms, a free weight strength center, computer lab and art room.
For Viterbo students, the opening of the new facility will provide immediate relief to a very serious overcrowding situation. The current athletic facility was built in 1987 at a time when enrollment was less than half of what it is today.
On La Crosse’s south side, the Boys & Girls Clubs currently operate clubs at Hamilton Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, and Huber Homes, all areas with limited space.

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