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Variety Boys & Girls Club Receives $1.25 Million Grant to Support New Science Lab

The leaders of the Variety Boys & Girls Club outside their Astoria club house Monday announcing the $1.25 million grant (Photo courtesy of VBGCQ)

Jan. 11, 2022 By Christian Murray

Two hydro-electric companies that will be delivering clean energy to a substation in Astoria in 2025 have come together to donate $1.25 million to the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens.

Hydro-Quebec and Transmission Developers Inc., which are developing a clean energy transmission line from the Canada-US border to New York City, are donating the funds to the Astoria-based youth organization that will be used to fund a science lab as well as STEM programing.

The lab will be part of a 5-story clubhouse that the VBGCQ is developing at its 21-20 30th Rd site.

The science lab will be on the fourth floor of the new clubhouse, according to Costa Constantinides, the CEO of VBGCQ. The new clubhouse is expected to be completed in 2026 and the lab will open at that time. The lab will provide science programing—with a focus on climate and energy innovation—for children from grades K through 8.

“We are grateful for this contribution to our project that will transform the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens into a state-of-the-art hub for education and innovation for the residents of Queens,” Constantinides said.

NK Architects, schematic design of the new facility (Rendering courtesy of VBGCQ)

Hydro-Quebec and Transmission Developers are working together on what’s known as the Champlain Hudson Power Express project. The project will see the delivery of clean hydropower into New York City, displacing some of the need for fossil fuel generation.

“The Champlain Hudson Power Express team is excited about today’s announcement which supports the Variety Boys & Girls Club commitment to serving the local community,” said Hydro-Quebec CEO Sophie Brochu and Transmission Developers CEO Don Jessome in a joint statement Monday.

“It’s our hope that the partnership in this 21st century science lab will provide life changing experiences and open career pathways in the clean economy for the youth living in Queens.”

The VBGCQ has received a significant amount of funding toward its new clubhouse over the past year. In June, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced that he had allocated $5 million in capital funds for the facility. Meanwhile, the city council has also allocated $5 million toward it.

The new clubhouse will include Queens’ first planetarium, a 1,000-seat basketball arena, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 200-seat black box theater. It will also have several art, music and dance studios; science labs; and dozens of fully equipped educations rooms and tech spaces for STEM and robotics.

The club is also developing a 14-story apartment building on its property as part of the project to help fund its programming.

The development is expected to begin in 2023 and be completed by 2026.

Rendering of the clubhouse and apartment complex that is being developed by the VBGCQ (Marner Architecture)

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