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West Salem Boys and Girls Club opens new site Friday

Brad Williams

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Friday, La Crosse’s Boys and Girls Club will celebrate the grand opening of its newest West Salem location.

It’s located in a wing of the West Salem Middle School, moving from an old church in town.

Club director Mike Desmond hopes the West Salem site will be popular with older youths.

“We’re able to create a team center like we did at both La Crosse sites,” he said. “We would anticipate our teen center would double or triple in average daily attendance because that’s typically what happened in La Crosse.”

The opening of the middle school club comes eight years after the West Salem branch had to move out of an old clinic because the roof caved in under a heavy snowfall.

The snow-covered roof of the old clinic collapsed on New Year’s Eve of 2010, when the building was empty.

“We took over a wing of that middle school and we invested $2.5 million in the renovation of our wing  so it didn’t affect the referendum or certainly not paid for by tax dollars,” Desmond said.

More than 600 young people are members of the West Salem branch.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.