EMMA ROUTLEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

After construction is finished this month, the Creswell Clubhouse will have a kitchenette, new dance floor complete with ballet bars, and a gym.

It’s almost playtime in Creswell – and not just because the weather is holding up somewhat consistently. The Creswell Clubhouse moved to a new home this year, the Cobalt Activity Center, and is under construction for a new look – complete with a cushioned dance floor and gym.

For the last 15 years of the Creswell Clubhouse, Laura Rariden has been determined to create a safe space for Creswell kids entering first through sixth grade to learn and explore their interests. 

“I focus all my energy on Creswell trying to offer as much as I possibly can with what I’m given to offer. And now that I have this building, I can offer more,” Rariden said. 

Rariden said she could have done a similar nonprofit in Eugene or Springfield, but she could see that the kids in Creswell had nothing to do and decided to start there, and the clubhouse serves over 100 children with after-school and summer camp programs.

Before Cobalt, the clubhouse was stationed in a modular classroom in Creslane Elementary School and provided Creswell kids the opportunity to participate in educationally enriching activities after school. 

EMMA ROUTLEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

Kitchenette in progress.

“The intention is for the building to be used for the benefit of the citizens of Creswell,” said Creswell City Manager Michelle Amberg. “I am excited to see the building used for this new program because the Creswell Clubhouse is a fantastic program for the kids in our community.”

The environment will be a fresh start, but most of the programs will stay the same for familiarity, such as the Brain Zone Homework Club, a quiet place where kids can study or do homework. Due to unpredictable COVID-issue scheduling, Rariden said they were denied reopening at Creslane; however, it was time for something new.

“I was starting to get a little worried anyway … where are we going to fit if this literally crumbles? I used to joke that the kids’ artwork stapled on the walls and love held that modular together,” Rariden said. 

EMMA ROUTLEY/CHRONICLE PHOTO

Rariden

Not only did Rariden find a new building within a day of inquiring, she had also applied for a grant that would end up covering the construction done on the center. 

“The same day I sent Michelle an email needing a facility for the clubhouse, we got a grant from the state for $43,750, and now we’ve got the money to fix this building” Rariden said. “I’m blown away.”

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of June, with minimal spots left for summer enrollment. The summer camp registration form can be found on the clubhouse website, and scholarships are available to help with costs.

“The improvements that Laura is making to the building are the icing on the cake. I look forward to years of great programming and happy kids,” Amberg said.

For more information on the Creswell Clubhouse, call (541) 852-6034 or email [email protected]