Milford Boys & Girls Club expanding into former St. Gabriel school

Seated front, Thomas Marder, kneeling left and right, Lucia Garcia and Mirella Soto, and standing left to right Lissette Soto, Alexis Broderick and Tiffany Ialeggio pose in front of Milford Boys & Girls Clubs, in Milford, Conn. Dec. 3, 2020.

Seated front, Thomas Marder, kneeling left and right, Lucia Garcia and Mirella Soto, and standing left to right Lissette Soto, Alexis Broderick and Tiffany Ialeggio pose in front of Milford Boys & Girls Clubs, in Milford, Conn. Dec. 3, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

MILFORD — Megan Altomare has dreams of serving 500 children a day at the Milford Boys & Girls Club — and thanks to the city and federal funding, that is closing in on reality.

The Boys & Girls Club of Milford will be expanding into the old St. Gabriel school, a since-closed Catholic elementary school on Tudor Road the city purchased in 2021. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has announced that $2.5 million in federal funds have been allocated for renovating the building to house the club.

“This was part of the Congressional spending,” Mayor Ben Blake about the funds being received to renovate the old building. “It was written into the federal budget, and it will help build a world-class facility.”

The current Boys & Girls Club building is about 6,500 square feet, and Altomare, the Boys & Girls Club’s executive director, said the building will be 22,000 square feet after the expansion.

“Right now, we have two different facilities — the old recreation center and the school,” she said. “With the expansion, all of our programs, will be housed in one building.”

Blake said the city purchased the school to retain about 10 acres of open space in the densely populated area around Tudor Road.

“We also have the vision to have it continue to be available for the recreation department and also the Boys & Girls Club,” Blake said.

Bill Garfield, director of the city’s recreation department, said the project will allow for a world-class Boys & Girls Club in Milford while providing the recreation department with a new gymnasium and space for recreation activities.

“The Milford Recreation Department is looking forward to seeing the project get started and continuing its growing relationship with the Boys & Girls Club,” Garfield said.

“We are excited for them to have the space they need to run the club the right way to help the Boys & Girls in the community,” he added. “At the same time, the Recreation Department is excited about the additional gym space for our basketball leagues and additional recreation activities. Both the state and city have stepped up to create a wonderful place for the community’s youth.”

Currently the Boys & Girls Club offers various programs, but with the expansion, Altomare said the club will have a dedicated STEM facility, arts and crafts room, a tech center, and a new gymnasium.

“Right now, we serve 630 kids, and we have another 100 on the wait list,” said Altomare. “With the expansion, we can serve more kids and expand beyond Milford.”

The goal for Altomare is to serve about 1,000 children a year and somewhere between 400 and 500 children a day.

“Right now, we serve about 200 kids a day. We will double that number once the expansion is completed,” she said.