Boys and Girls Village officials celebrate opening of new administration building

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Boys and Girls Village officials celebrated on Friday the grand opening of its new and improved administration building on

U.S. 90, more than two years after a fire destroyed the old facility.

“We’ve been excited about it, but we’ve been patiently waiting,” said Max Mathieu, executive director.

The 3,800-square-foot facility has eight offices, compared to the four offices in the old building, Mathieu said. Another

new feature is the counseling room for families.

“It was designed in a way that was more functional than the old building,” Mathieu said. “We just wanted a good building that

was strong and functional.”

The November 2010 fire destroyed the

Old Bell Mansion — which served as the administration building for

nearly 60 years —

and damaged two neighboring buildings. Mathieu said a training

center was modified to accommodate administrative staff until

the new facility was finished.

“We’ve learned to adapt out here and be

flexible,” he said. “We were able to work side by side with no walls or

doors to separate

us. I was amazed at how well we got along and worked together.”

Mathieu said most of the money that paid for the new building came from donations to a Boys Village Fire Recovery Fund set

up at Cameron State Bank.

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said the new facility was a “rebirth.”

“This building makes a statement not just about the program, but the reason the program is being done,” he said. “It’s a good

example of what you’re about.”

Mathieu said there are 16 children on-site at Boys and Girls Villages.

Mathieu said King Architects Inc. designed the building and Shannon Smith Construction Inc. performed the construction work.