HOLYOKE – The Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts formally broke ground Tuesday on its 9,380 square-foot, $1.5 million service center at 301 Kelly Way in the Crossroads Business Park.
The ceremony comes as the national girl scouting movement celebrates its 100th anniversary, said Patricia L. Hallberg, CEO for the organization.
“This is about our next 100 years,” Hallberg said.
The building will house offices for 25 paid staff as well as classrooms and meeting space for Girl Scout volunteers, she said. The building will be completed in November. It’s being built by Wright Builders of Northampton.
It sits on 2.8 acres of land which includes some wetlands that will be preserved. “So well have our scouts out there learning about that ecosystem and we’ll be the stewards of it,” Hallberg said.
Staffers have already spotted a bald eagle flying over the property, said chief operating officer Suzanne M. Smiley.
Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts serves 14,000 girl scouts from kindergarten up through 12th grade and another 5,000 volunteers. Formed four years ago from a merger of the Girl Scouts of Pioneer Valley in East Longmeadow, the Girl Scouts of Western Massachusetts in Northampton and the Montachusset Girl Scouts in Worcester, the new council’s territory stretches from Route 495 west to the New York state line.
Holyoke is the perfect central location for that service territory, said Jenny A. Powers, a volunteer troop leader from Holyoke.
Her daughter, Esme L. Powers, is a Brownie and participated in the ceremony.
Junior Girl Scout Emma L. Norman, 9, of Easthampton, gave the welcoming remarks. She sold 1,750 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to help fund a trip to Washington in June.
Hallberg said the Girl Scouts will keep its center in Worcester, but will close and sell offices in East Longmeadow and in the Leeds section of Northampton when the Holyoke building opens. The Scouts are funding the new building through the sale of those two offices as well as the sale of property on the fringes of some camps in Central Massachusetts.
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