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PACE Center buys building

By Staff | Nov 7, 2013

PACE Center for Girls of Lee County has purchased the former Richard Milburn Academy at 3800 Evans Ave., as its new home for its 45 young women.

Renovations will commence immediately with a projected move-in date of February 2014. The purchase of the 15,000-square foot facility more than doubles classroom space, allows PACE to expand its capacity and services to the girls.

Thanks to the generosity of the community, the PACE Center for Girls has successfully raised more than $764,000 for its $2 million “Dream BIG” Capital Campaign.

The campaign was launched in 2011 with a matching gift challenge from the Kleist Family Foundation. Mrs. Eleanore Kleist serves as the honorary co-chair along with PACE Lee board treasurer Sonya Sawyer. We have an additional $400,000 to be raised by Dec. 31, 2013, to pay for renovations.

Since opening its doors, the Lee Center has helped nearly 600 girls find success in school, generate a positive relationship with their families and peers, and become productive members of our community.

“We are at maximum capacity with no room for growth at our current location that we have rented since we opened our doors in 2007,” said executive director Meg Geltner. “Our expansion will provide the Center more room to grow our capacity, increase our services to the girls as well as engage volunteers, interns, and community agencies annually.”

“This is a transformational project for our community,” said campaign co-chair Sonya Sawyer. “The expansion enables PACE Lee to become the number one center in the region with a new approach to serving at-risk girls and young women.”

PACE Lee is one of 18 centers located throughout Florida. The center offers year round counseling and academic services for girls, ages 12-18, who are facing challenges such as foster care, domestic violence abuse and neglect, death of a parent, substance abuse, and/or family history of incarceration.

For more information visit www.pacecenter.org/lee or call 239-425-2366 ext. 25.