Youth for Christ plans additionFundraising continues for a planned $250,000 expansion at the James Valley Youth for Christ building, which will include additional space for activities and making the building handicapped accessible. So far, the organization has raised $125,000 — half the money needed for the 1,600-square-foot project, which has been in the works since 2005, when Youth for Christ opened.
By: By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Fundraising continues for a planned $250,000 expansion at the James Valley Youth for Christ building, which will include additional space for activities and making the building handicapped accessible.
So far, the organization has raised $125,000 — half the money needed for the 1,600-square-foot project, which has been in the works since 2005, when Youth for Christ opened.
“It’s been slowly growing as a need. About three years ago we started getting really serious” about finding solutions, whether that meant getting a new building or expanding in the current location, said Troy Gunderson, executive director of James Valley Youth for Christ.
After doing some research on the possibilities, Youth for Christ officials found that expanding the current facility would be the most cost-effective option, Gunderson said.
The project will add half a basketball court to the Youth for Christ facilities, as well as two additional bathrooms and a large storage room for equipment. The basketball space will double as an activities room for playing games, having small concerts, banquets and other activities.
It will also add an indoor chair lift for people with disabilities, so that they will be able to get anywhere in the old building as well as the addition.
The James Valley Youth for Christ building was not originally intended for use as a youth center, Gunderson said.
It was built as a German Lutheran church in 1900, sold to Trinity Lutheran in 1928, and then sold again to the Credit Union League in 1957, when it saw use as a bank. The building even housed the Salvation Army for a while, before it became a weekend youth center — the Community Christian Youth Center.
Eventually the CCYC donated the building to Youth for Christ in 2005.
At this point, active games are played in a gathering space on the second floor of the building.
“We’re constantly having to quell the enthusiasm of the games and things the kids want to do because the building’s not designed for it,” Gunderson said.
Youth for Christ is hoping to break ground for the addition in the spring.
“I’m thoroughly excited. I can’t wait for spring to get here,” Gunderson said.
The fundraising campaign for the addition started quietly, with people directly connected to Youth for Christ, such as its staff, donors and its board of directors, and then moved on to the families and students the center serves. Then the campaign was brought to people in Jamestown’s faith community.
Only now has the public campaign begun.
“People have been just really wonderful … blessing us beyond measure,” Gunderson said. “To be halfway there already, before we even hit the public campaign, is just a testimony of the love of this community.”
Anyone interested in donating to the campaign is welcome to go to the Youth for Christ building, see what the organization does and why, or even visit after school and see the young people who use the space, Gunderson said.
The public is welcome to call 252-5501 for more information.
Checks can be sent to Box 105, Jamestown, ND 58402.
A donor wall will be included in the building with names of people who contribute $500 or more.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be
reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at