Monday, December 28, 2009

Arcade Alley Work

Merry Christmas to Everyone and Happy New Year too! 2010 will be the year of the New Community Center!

This week has been a busy time for working on the building. 3 offices were torn out to create what will become "Arcade Alley" which will feature 4 gaming stations each with its own projector screen for large format viewing. The space is nice and open now.

We already hosted a Birthday Party at the center ~ Future Teens!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Week of Meetings

This past week was the 3rd week of the month which means - Meeting week! Tuesday we met with the teens who are very excited to have their first activity in the center - a Trivia Night sometime in January (hopefully!)

The Adult meeting on Thursday also went very well. We outlined some of the Committees that are necessary and determined who would be the best fit to chair each. New faces show up at each meeting which is so wonderful. It is great to hear different ideas and opinions. We have a smart group of people working on this project.

We are working on all kinds of plans for the center including security, volunteer management, cafe design/menu/health code regs, code of conduct, rules & procedures, risk management, budget, findraising and more... Lots to do for sure!

Today was a work day, and the old bank office walls were torn out to create Arcade Alley. One nice glass wall was removed and now is enclosing the back of the theater ~ it looks very nice. The theater stadium levels are finished. And the wooden dance floor was installed today as well by Brian and John from Straight Arrow Flooring Installation ~ Thank you guys for working on your Saturday! Lots of help from David, Zach & Ben Moehn, Susie Trefny, Fred Hentrich, Thomas Sillivan, Matt Wuellner, Emily, and Sue & Jerry Mueller.

Fred has worked every day last week patching where we removed 2 walls to expand the internet cafe last weekend. He does so much for us!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Meetings, Planning and Construction Go On

In the main floor area the third teller partition has been removed and so has the wall where the security check in will be. The marble on the pillars will be replaced this weekend. We hope to have Carpet patched in this week.

The wood flooring for the dance floor has been delivered. It was donated by Direct Floors. A big thanks to all those companies for their support. And thanks again to our demolition help: Chris Norton, Thomas Hentrich, David Worley, Don Henkhaus, Fred Hentrich, Mike Hentrich, Susie Trefny & Al Manring.

H2K continues to work on the theater! Office walls were removed and new drywall is going up where the movie screen will be. And Jen Mechanical reworked the ductwork for that room as well. TK Carpet has agreed to do the carpet in the movie theater. We really appreciate everyone's help! It is all coming together!

The Teen Committee met this week on Tuesday. We had a much smaller group due to it being a very busy night for HS sports. They all came up with lots of ideas for projects and activities they could do themselves to raise funds for the center. They are also compiling playlists for Dj dance music and other ambient music playing throughout the center. Please contact us if you are interested in helping out!

The Adult Committee also met this week. Many issues were discussed about the center. Members are going to add to the Wish List any equipment we think is necessary as well as any potential donors. Several people will be working on the bylaws and Teen Center Membership Rules and Procedures so we can continue to move forward in this process.

We will be hosting an afterprom in April. So we have a hard deadline to meet to have the Center in shape!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tony Hawk Skateboard Game Winner!

Brayden was one of the winners of the Tony Hawk Giveaway at the Open House! Here he is playing it!

Our 2nd winner was Michael. Here he is watching another teen do a card trick!

Congratulations to both our winners!! Thanks to all for participating in the raffle. We were able to raise enough money to giveaway two instead of just one as originally planned!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Great Progress on the Teller Partitions!

It was another great day at the community center yesterday! Thanks to everyone who helped out (Dad, Al,Sister Susie, Chris Norton,Joey and Ashley, and earlier in the week Uncle Larry Maher) As you can see we removed two of the three of the three teller partition walls which included cabinets, marble, countertops, block walls, and wiring. Hopefully today (Saturday) we will finish up the remaining partition and begin to clean things up. Depending on the help that shows up we might get a chance to start in on the wall near the security check-in that needs to get removed.

For those of you that are not familiar with the plan... These partitions need to come out to make the 1st floor look more open and to give easy access to the pool tables and foseball tables. For more info check out our floor plans on the website.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Open House

We decided to hold our Open House on Friday November 20th because we knew Downtown Alton would be bustling with people for the Taste of Alton and the lighting of the Christmas Tree. So we rallied our troops to pull off a last minute event.

We thought it would be a nice opportunity to introduce the greater community to our project. A chance for them to take a tour of the building as it sits – basically pre-construction, looking much like a bank and office space. A night to experience a glimpse of the fun to be had, and in the end to realize how much of a transformation this project is going to be.

Signs were made to guide the visitors through the three floors and explain what was in the works – which spaces would house which activities and which sponsors were making each area possible.

Even though the main area of the Community Center will eventually be a dance floor and stage for bands or DJs, we filled it with gaming stations: Pop-a-Shot, Darts, Wiis, Xbox, Playstation 3, Foosball, ping pong, Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk skateboard and more! Special thanks to Alton Memorial Hospital for making such a generous donation of all the video game consoles. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the games and activities!

The event was a success with about 300 people showing up for a tour or to just browse and play games with other youths and their parents. It was a perfectly wonderful family atmosphere.

The Center raffled off 2 Tony Hawk skateboard games for Wii and Xbox - our winners were Brayden Favilla and Michael Crain. Our raffle, 50/50 and sales of soda and hot cocoa made enough to cover the raffle prizes.

We were all quite happy with the turnout at the Open House. We were able to inform more people about the Center than we have been able to through word of mouth and the website content we try to push.

Please help us continue to spread the word on this Center – If we can gather more interest and support the community can develop the Center into one of the best alternatives for our local teens to spend their free time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Moving Along ... The Teens Join in!

Last week we had a meeting with the Adult Advisory Board to get to know each other, tour the facilities and have a discussion about each person's hopes and dreams are for the center. The week before we held a similar meeting with the Board of Directors. Both went very well and further elevated the group's excitement.

Between the two groups we have assembled an amazing selection of people with exceptional qualifications. The future for this Teen Center is looking quite bright!

Tonight we hold our last Initial Meeting. We have yet another capable and energetic team forming. This group, The Teen Advisory Board, enlists the Teens themselves. They are going to have complete ownership in this process. It is their center, and they will be making all sorts of decisions from what activities will be offered to creating center policies. Oh and there will be plenty of hands-on work for everyone as well!

The Teens will work in tandem with the Adult Advisory Board who will offer their support and guidance through the process of building the historic bank into the Teen Center.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in such a project. We are honored to be working with some of Alton's best and brightest. Our teens are our future adults. It is good to see the willingness on their part to be involved and take responsibility to create this one-of-a-kind center.

Send in the Teens!!!! Can't wait to see everyone tonight!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Construction on Movie Theater Begins!

Tonight was an exciting night as we began construction for the new 30 to 50 seat movie theater on the first floor of the teen center. Big thanks to H2K construction for donating their labor on this project! Hank Hart, Mark Elloitt, Eric Zipprich, and Tim Kane wasted no time as they swung into action about 3:30 today tearing out doors, desks, cabinets, windows and ceilings. If all goes well they'll be back at tomorrow to finish tearing down the remaining walls and ceiling. I need to also give a little kudos to my parents, sister Susie, wife Dawn, and kids for their help as well for carrying out materials and cleaning up the mess.

Speaking of construction I need to mention that last Friday we got a step closer in the lower level with our Band room and our Art room. I didn't get the time to blog about it but we had a nice little crew working to clean up that mess down there and to prepare for the construction of a new stage in a room that might eventually be called the "Underground" This will be a place for band members to practice or play for friends in a comfortable setting "down under" Big thanks to the work crew that consisted of Richard Baird, Brian Gebben, Ashley Hentrich, Kaitlin Keenan, Smantha Horstman, and Stacey Worley, Megan Flatt, and Angie

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bringing you up to speed

Since my blog started a bit after the project started I thought it might be important to jump back a little in time and bring you up to speed on a few things....

First and foremost I want to thank our initial group of sponsors!!! As soon as our offer on the building was accepted I had about a week to talk to a few businesses to see how they could help us get started. The response and enthusiasm for the project was overwhelming!

Have a look at what has been commited already!!!

  • Alton Memorial Hospital - Nintendo Wii Fit Arcade Game and Equipment
  • Atlantis Pools and Spas - Pool Tables and possible Foosball Table
  • Direct Floors - Labor and materials for oak dance floor on the main level
  • H2K Construction - Labor for 30 person home style movie theater with raised seating
  • Thomas Fahnestock, CPA -Incorporation of the new non-profit Community Center
  • Scheffel & Company - Consulting & labor to file for 501c3 tax exempt & charitable status
We have a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of us but if everyone in the communtiy is as giving and generous as the above group of initial sponsors we are going to have one of the best community centers in the nation.

We will be working on a wish list in the next week or two but if you can think of ways that you would like to contribute or if you know of others who are in a good position to help please spread the word and help us keep this project moving forward!

There are plenty of other things to talk about to bring you up to speed but I need to quit blogging for the moment and head back down to the center to get ready for some of our inital meetings. Check back soon for more details... settles into new offices at the Community Center

Well things have been a little quiet on the Community Center front in the past week or two because we have been very busy working on getting our offices settled into the new building. Most people wouldn't know it but we didn't actually close on the building until this past Tuesday October 13th. Fortunately, prior to our closing, we were able to hang some temporary signs, do a lot of planning, and really get the ball rolling on the community center.

If you haven't bought a old 7 story building or moved your offices in a while there is more there than meets the eye. I knew it was going to be a lot of work but you tend to forget about all the little details that really eat up your time. In the past week or two we have bought and installed a new phone system, setup our wired and wireless network, configured Internet connectivity, and moved a lot of heavy furniture and office equipment. We've also shopped for insurance, negotiated our janitorial services, done a lot of paperwork, and on and on and on.

Without boring you with too many details I just wanted to say....

IT'S OFFICIAL!!! We've bought the building and has moved in !!!

Now we can get back to work :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Open Invitation

Consider this your open invitation! Anytime you would like a tour of building (and the Vault) please give me a call at 618-465-9850 x 226 or shoot an email to . We have not closed on the building yet but I do have a set of keys and the combination to the vault :-) There will be an open house / kickoff meeting soon after we close on the building (closing has been rescheduled for Oct. 13th)

If you would like an invite to the open house and kickoff meeting please join our mailing list

First of Many Posts (I hope)

Well I'm really not much of a writer but figured a blog might be the best way to keep everyone up to date with what is going on with the community center project. Since this is my first attempt at blogging I don't want to make too many promises as to how frequently or how long I will keep up with this blog. For most of you that know me well, you know that I have a pretty difficult time just keeping up with email and phone calls. As time progresses I would like others to join in on this communication. For now please comment as much as possible to help keep us moving forward!

I am very excited about this project and so I want to do everything I can to get things off to a good start. I believe Communication and Community Involvement are going to be the two key factors in our success so here goes....

1) Keep an eye on this blog
2) Keep an eye on our website (
3) Join our mailing list (
4) Please Help in every way you possibly can! (our kids and our community need this center!!)

More info to follow very soon...