DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Boys and Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties is officially open in South Durham.
This 32,000 square-foot space is more than double the old facility. An estimated 110 students attend the club now, but CEO Jerome Levisy said he hopes to accommodate as many as 600 kids in 5 years.
Levisy said Monday's opening was an emotional and special moment for him personally.
"When I was growing up, I participated in a boys club, and I knew if it wasn't for that boys club molding me into the type of person I am today then I wouldn't be standing here in front of you. I would be incarcerated or would most likely be dead," Levisy said. "So the boys club saved my life. That's why I got emotional because I know that I'm saving lives."
Since 2014, Boys and Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties staff said none of its members younger than 18 have had negative interactions with police or become pregnant. Additionally, without the club, 90 percent of kids in the community would not get proper exercise, and 70 percent would receive their last meal of the day at school.
Students like Madison Everett and Tyler McGill said the new facility took their breath away.
"I was amazed and happy," said Everett.
"I just like got silent because it was really amazing," McGill said. "And then once you get to see everything else it just opens your eyes even more."
The old Boys and Girls Club had been in East Durham for nearly 50 years, but administrators said it was plagued with problems such as flooding, thieves and trespassers.
The new $3 million facility has onsite security and houses additional programs, classrooms and learning labs.
Soon the club will launch a capital campaign to pay off the building.
Community partners like the Goodwill Community Foundation, EAS and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina were among the major donors toward the new space.