Headlee Boys & Girls Club aims to open at start of school year

By the start of the school year, the Headlee Boys & Girls Club is expected to open.

The building, located at 1476 N. Knox Ave., is taking shape. Cooper Construction is the contractor and JSA architects is the designer.

David Chancellor, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Permian Basin, said plans are to move in by mid-July. He added that he has received constant calls from people wanting to know when the club will open.

“I would say we’re going to open for the new school year,” Chancellor said.

About $2 million was raised for the 8,000-square-foot building with the main gifts coming from the Wood and Headlee families. Chancellor pointed out the Wood Family building at the Headlee Boys & Girls Club.

The venture is a collaborative project between the Ector County Independent School District and the Boys & Girls Club of the Permian Basin.

Chancellor said JSA did a “fantastic job” of balancing beauty with function.

“It’s been 51 years since the club has built anything … so this is pretty satisfying knowing it will be here for decades to come,” Chancellor said. “Hopefully this will be serving kids long after we’re dead.”

The club is adjacent to Edward K. Downing Elementary School, 1480 N. Knox Ave. The club will have access to the pavilion, playground and gym at the school.

“… The school district has been wonderful,” Chancellor said.

They hope to serve up to 150 youngsters a day. Art, sports, games, a multimedia room, reading and computers will be available. Swimming lessons look like they will be offered at the University of Texas Permian Basin.

The West Texas Food Bank will bring food in daily, Chancellor said. During the year, a hot meal will be served, and during the summer, the club will offer breakfast, lunch and a snack.

The unit director will be Adam Lucio, who is currently running the Boys & Girls Club program at the University of Texas Permian Basin STEM Academy.

Lucio has worked for the Boys & Girls Club for three and a half years and also coaches tennis at Odessa College part time and teaches fitness classes and tennis at the summer camps there. He also coached tennis for five years at the Bush Tennis Center in Midland for five years.

“I’m thrilled,” Lucio said of the new club. “I grew up in West Odessa and … I live here now, so I’ve known that we’ve needed something like this for a long time and I’m glad that I’m going to help bring it home.”

He said he participated in club programs as a youngster, but the club was pretty far away. Lucio said he lived 10 minutes further to the west than the club’s location.

Now it’s much closer to where he lives. But back then, “It was just too far for my parents to get us anywhere.”

Lucio said he’s had many people ask him when the club is going to open. They were hoping for the start of summer, but it has been delayed.

“It’s highly anticipated,” he said.