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January 29, 2004

Contacts: Viterbo University, Pat Kerrigan @ 608-796-3041,
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater La Crosse, Lisa Sauer @ 608-785-3161,


  • Fundraising hits new level
  • Project architect selected; artist’s design released
  • Groundbreaking date set
  • Community-wide raffle

LA CROSSE, Wis--Viterbo University and The Boys &  Girls  Clubs of Greater La Crosse have raised nearly $6.2 million of the a $7.5 million needed to complete construction of a 58,000 square foot joint recreational and educational center on property owned by the university.

This facility will be the first in the nation to benefit from a collaboration between a university and boys and girls club to jointly fundraise and jointly construct a building.

Viterbo and the Club, which announced the collaboration July 14, brought the project one step closer to reality by also announcing the selection of HSR Associates Inc. of La Crosse as the architect for the new building. While fundraising efforts still have a ways to go, officials closely connected with the project are hopeful that the $7.5 million goal will be reached in time to proceed with a May/June 2004 groundbreaking. And they were on hand at a press conference today to appeal for support in finishing the last leg of fundraising.

“People we have contacted really like the project. We’ve raised over three-quarters of our goal in less than six months, and while that kind of progress is unprecedented, we know we can’t let up until all the necessary funds are raised,” said Scott Mathy, who along with John Desmond, serve as co-chairs of a fundraising committee comprised of community volunteers.

Meanwhile the momentum continues to grow.

University and Club officials along with the project architect introduced the design for the new building which will feature separate as well as shared space for the students of Viterbo and youngsters belonging to the Boys & Girls  Clubs of La Crosse

“The response has been unbelievable to Viterbo and the Boys & Girls Clubs collaborating on this very innovative project. Because this is one of the first of its kind to be proposed in the nation, it has captured the enthusiasm of a large number of individuals who want to support a joint facility,” Desmond said. “It makes great economic sense because it helps young people at all ages.”

Desmond indicated that plans are in the works for a raffle which will kick off in March with proceeds going to support the project.

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 1986 at a time when enrollment was less than half of what it is today.

On La Crosse’s south side, the Boys and Girls Clubs currently operates clubs at Hamilton Elementary, Lincoln Middle School, and Huber Homes, all areas with limited space.

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