Bethesda News

Work in Progress: Community Center Phase II

After over a year of fundraising, work has finally begun on the old Shamrock Firehouse! Over the past month, everything of value was removed from the building. Asbestos from two of the upstairs rooms was safely disposed of during the middle of June, and the structure will begin to come down on July 10! Patriot Wrecking, LLC, will demolish the firehouse.

There are still plenty of challenges ahead. Patriot Wrecking will have to completely demolish the building while protecting our renovated activity center and gymnasium complex directly next to the Shamrock.

Demolition is expected to be completed by the end of July. After refilling the lot, we will begin constructing the new facility, starting with a two-story building with a second-story shell. We expect the new building to be finished in the spring of 2024.

Pyramid Construction will manage the project, using the architectural designs of David Maule. Both David and Pyramid were instrumental in the development and construction of the new Women’s Shelter, and we are excited to have them both working on this project as well!

We have a clear vision for this future space. It has been designed to be especially effective for our Community Center. Because the buildings will be connected, students and staff can quickly move between them without walking outside. The enlarged kitchen will allow us to meet a higher demand for food production, and a mezzanine will be installed to allow parents to observe our team sports and cheer on their children and teens from above.

As the demolition continues, we will provide updates on social media and send email blasts. We will also post videos on YouTube as milestone events in the demolition and construction occur.

Community Center Programs

While the project is underway, our Community Center has found creative ways to make up for the reduced space. Our camp programs typically run Monday through Friday from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. During the day, students are offered free time until 11 am, when they break into groups based on grade. The Dream Program is for 2nd to 4th graders, Inspire is for middle schoolers, and Reach is for high school students.

The Community Center is partnering with the Head Cook at our Men’s Mission to provide lunches for students in our summer camp and basketball camp (which takes place in the afternoon).

There is a focus on providing the kids with access to experiences that would typically be out of reach. To do this, we take the students on trips to many unique locations.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, everyone travels to the pool after lunch. On the other days, camp students go to local parks and other interesting locations like Olympic Skating, Camp Hebron, and Lake Tobias, while those in the basketball camp stay and train.

By balancing when students are at our Community Center, with summer camp in the morning and basketball camp in the afternoon, we are able to utilize the space effectively. This allows us to ensure students have positively formative experiences despite not having access to the firehouse.

On some Fridays, students go on reward trips if they have accomplished their weekly goals and have maintained good standing in the program. For these trips, students have the opportunity to attend amusement parks like Hersheypark and Dorney for the entire day!
Our staff and volunteers have been preparing for camp since May. Along with planning activities and lessons as well as thinking through how to implement them in the limited space, staff are learning to use a new communication system this year. Please pray that they will be able to fully utilize this new system to reach students and their parents effectively.

Looking Toward the Future

All of this makes us incredibly excited for the completion of the new building. Once finished, we will be able to double the capacity of our programs to reach more children, teens, and families in need.

If you would like to learn more about Community Center Phase II, you can go to our website at It provides an overview of the project as well as our hopes for the future!


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