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State and local officials during a socially distanced groundbreaking ceremony praised the 30,000-square-foot development’s goal of serving an additional 1,500 children in the city’s southeast corridor at the former Alfred E. Burr Elementary School, 129 Ledyard St.

The 160-year-old Boys & Girls Club Hartford, (BGCH) currently serving 8,000 school-aged kids, says the project will be completed by fall 2021.

“The Boys and Girls Club of Hartford is an institution in this community and the state of Connecticut is proud to be supportive of this investment,” said Gov. Ned Lamont, who attended Thursday’s groundbreaking and previously declared Jan. 23 “Boys and Girls Club Day in Connecticut.”

“This new facility will support generations of children, and strengthen the bonds they have with the city of Hartford and the region,” Lamont said.

A campaign aimed at financing the new clubhouse has raised $21 million of its $20-million fundraising goal to cover the cost of construction and operation of the club for the first five years, officials said Thursday.

The so-called “Dig In” campaign debuted in Oct. 2018 with a $1 million pledge from property-casualty insurer The Hartford Financial Services Group. The insurer’s commitment also included its chief executive and chairman, Christopher Swift, serving as the campaign’s chairman. Since then, the State Bond Commission has pledged $7 million and millions of dollars have been raised from personal funds of 30 BGCH board members.

Donations of $1 million were also provided by Travelers Cos., Stanley Black & Decker and Raytheon Technologies Corp. (formerly United Technologies Corp.).  Bank of America donated $750,000, Hartford law firm Shipman & Goodwin LLP donated $250,000 and an anonymous donor contributed $1 million.

The new BGCH facility is being built on 3.3 acres the city gifted to the organization for $1 in 2019.

The groundbreaking event was also attended by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Mayor Luke Bronin, State Rep. Julio A. Concepción (D-Hartford), Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez and others.