October 19, 2001

BIA Cares Dedicates $1.7 Million Clubhouse For Pro Kids Golf

Representatives from BIA Cares for Kids and Pro Kids Golf Academy and Learning Center, along with various city officials, Pro Kids golf students and hundreds of surrounding community members recently joined together to celebrate the formal grand opening and dedication of the golf clubhouse completed by BIA Cares for the inner city youth golf program located in the City Heights area of San Diego.

It has been nearly three years since Pro Kids came to the philanthropic building industry organization in dire need of a clubhouse renovation. BIA Cares took on the job and plans quickly escalated from a minor superficial facelift to a large-scale demolition, fund-raising campaign and reconstruction project on the grounds of Colina Park Golf Course.

The clubhouse construction process was made possible through the efforts of more than 100 building industry contractors and suppliers who volunteered countless hours of their time and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of materials needed for the project.

Ernie Wright, Pro Kids founder and former San Diego Charger, of the Pro Kids Gold Academy and Learning Center, center, cuts the ribbon of the organization’s new 7,000-square-foot clubhouse. The $1.7 million facility was built by hundreds of volunteers from the building industry.

"The building industry opened their hearts when they took on this project," said Lora Heramb, a lifetime board member of BIA Cares for Kids. "Much of what you see was contributed by the BIA's various trade contractors. Competitors often worked side-by-side pooling resources and putting their hearts and souls into the work. This building will be an example for the nation, showing that when people work together, we really can make a difference."

Designed by Case Group Architects, the $1.7 million, 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility includes a community room adorned with Pro Kids plaques and photos, five offices, a "Dream Center" board room, lounge and gathering areas, a Tiger Woods-themed library with books donated by San Diego Golf Writers Assn., ample storage space, a fully equipped computer educational lab and a second classroom area to promote after-school classes and tutoring. IBM has donated $50,000 worth of computer equipment for the facility.

In addition, the building features a $60,000 golf simulator room complete with more than 40 simulated golf courses and golf lessons. The system was donated to Pro Kids by Full Swing Golf and ASTAR.

"The question is, what is this building going to do? What is it going to mean to the kids of this community," said Ernie Wright. "We want to provide the arena where kids in this neighborhood can dream the dreams that all kids have the right to and to have the opportunity to play golf and learn a few life lessons in the process.

"Three years ago I would have been happy with a minor renovation," Wright added. "This building surpasses my dreams."

BIA Cares for Kids, the charitable arm of the Building Industry Association of San Diego, is dedicated to aiding the underprivileged children of San Diego. The organization was formed 12 years ago to achieve its broad community-minded goals through collective community-based action.

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