By Stephen J. Kotz
The Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center, which runs after-school programs for grade school kids to teens, a popular summer program and provides space for Head Start prekindergarten programs, has been bumping up against space constraints for some time.
But now, the nonprofit, which was incorporated in 1954, is planning to launch a capital program to raise the estimated $1.5 million it will need to build an addition, doubling the size of its 1,500-square-foot administrative building and attaching it to its main classroom building.
“We’ve been working bare bones for a long, long time,” said the center’s executive director, Bonnie Cannon. “It’s time to move forward.”
Ms. Cannon said the center currently serves about 90 families from across the East End, with about 40 children attending Head Start, another 38 currently attending its after-school programs, 15 to 20 teens taking college prep and SAT classes and 85 to 90 children attending its summer program. There are waiting lists for some programs.
In addition, the center has added adult programing, offering classes, presenting lectures and screening films, such as the “The Killer Bees,” the documentary about the Bridgehampton High School basketball team, which will be shown Saturday.
The addition will allow the center to add a computer lab, an art room, a teen room and storage space. More importantly, it will end the need to constantly shuffle children from one space to another during the day, Ms. Cannon said.
The center was founded after a fire claimed the lives of two children of migrant farm workers who had been left at home while their parents worked at nearby farms in 1954. Within five years, the center was based in a donated farmhouse on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. Over the years, the center has become part of the fabric of the Bridgehampton community, expanding its campus with a classroom building, a teen building, and basketball courts and other recreational facilities.
Ms. Cannon said the building has seen little in the way of improvements over the years, except that the kitchen was removed to provide more program space and a leaky roof replaced. Now, the building is leaning and in need of major repairs.
Siamak Samii, a Southampton architect has volunteered his services for the project. Ms. Cannon said she hoped that ground could be broken by 2019 and the building completed by the following year.
Ms. Cannon said the center already has about $300,000 on hand and hopes to raise the balance by targeting major donors and holding smaller fundraisers while providing for its existing programing. “When you think about it, $1.5 million is really not that much, especially when you compare it the prices of some of the houses out here.”
Those wishing to donate can send checks to the center at P.O. Box 1197, Bridgehampton, NY 11932, or online at bhccrc.org/donate.