GRANGEVILLE A dream of more than 20 years in the making came true when the new Kids Klub (KK) building opened Thursday, May 31.
More than 100 people attended the celebratory event which was catered by Effortless Event Planning. Summer programs started at the new facility, 506 South A Street, adjacent to Grangeville Elementary Middle School (GEMS).
“In its five different programs, Kids Klub serves more than 485 students per year currently,” said program director Kristi Keeler.
KK offers a variety of opportunities for children in preschool through junior high in the area of academics, life skills and enrichment, as well as in a plethora of other ways which expand youth horizons.
KK started in a private building on the north side of Grangeville in 1996 and moved to GEMS in 2000. Four years ago, it outgrew its two rooms occupied at GEMS, and a waiting list has existed since.
“A generous bequest from Orrin and Eleanora Webb and overgrowth fused at the perfect time, and the dream of building came to fruition,” Keeler said. “It was the Webb donation that really got the ball rolling.”
With Joe Bonn as project manager, Morris Arnzen Construction of Cottonwood was awarded the bid and construction began Nov. 7, 2017, on the 4,016 square-foot building.
Former KK employee and longtime board member, Andrea Solberg, spoke on the generosity of the Webbs, who were personal friends of hers.
Orrin, born in Weiser, was a pilot in the Air Force in WWII, flying 11 combat missions. He was shot down and spent 14 months in a German prisoner of war camp.
After his release from active duty in the fall of 1945, he and his wife, Eleanora, of Grangeville, purchased her dad’s insurance and real estate business from Len Jordan, who had purchased it from her father in 1943. Orrin and Eleanora owned and operated the business until 1961; however, Orrin had an office in the business (now Solberg) Agency throughout his life.
They raised their only son, James, in Grangeville. He died tragically at the age of 30.
“The Webbs genuinely loved this community and felt it had done so much for them,” Solberg said.
The Webbs became KK supporters around 2000, notably providing stock and an insurance policy to the organization.
“Back in 1972, the Webbs had made the decision to leave their multi-million-dollar estate to charity and the community they loved,” Solberg said. “The only change to their will in 40 years was the addition of Kids Klub as a beneficiary.”
The Webbs were named the Kids Klub Champions in 2003.
Eleanora died in 2004 at the age of 86 and Orrin died in 2012 at the age of 93. Kids Klub was a recipient of a portion – 5 percent — of the $6.1 million the Webbs left.
“Today we celebrate their gift and continue their legacy to this community,” Solberg ended. The KK building is named for the Webbs.
Those funds, along with donations, a community development block grant sponsored by the City of Grangeville, assistance from Clearwater Economic Development Association and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, have constructed the new building.
Executive director Cindy Godfrey recognized Bonn for his work as project manager and presented him with the KK Champion 2018 Award.
“Joe did a wonderful job taking on the stress and keeping his cool, rarely swearing – OK, never swearing,” Godfrey joked.
Contractor Morris Arnzen and architect Rhonda Wemhoff were also recognized.
“We are very blessed to live in such a wonderful community,” an emotional Godfrey emphasized. “I want to thank each and everyone of you for your support and the impact you have had on the youth in this community.”