There’s space to fly drones and code robots.

The newly constructed Hawkins Family Westside Boys & Girls Club has 15,000 square feet of club space for all kinds of activities.

The new space was celebrated at a ribbon-cutting and open house on Monday. Special guests included Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Karen Hawkins, the building’s namesake.

The new facility is connected to Westbrook Elementary School, 1312 Robertson Drive.

Since 2005, Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands has used existing school space to provide programming to children ages 6 to 18.

The drones and robots are part of the new facility’s Innovation Center.

“Our commitment to children doesn’t end at 3:30 when the final bell rings each day,” said Superintendent Mike Lucas.

He said the new facility ensures that the district’s students are nurtured and empowered during and after school.

Ivan Gilreath, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, said the partnership will provide opportunities to help “youth in being successful academically and socially.”

Emily covers K-12 education, including Omaha Public Schools. Previously, Emily covered local government and the Nebraska Legislature for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @emily_nitcher. Phone: 402-444-1192.

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