(Missoula Current) Five months after launching its capital campaign, the YMCA of Missoula welcomed a $30,000 donation on Thursday to help fund the construction of a new youth innovation center planned at the Russell Street facility.

The funding was provided by Spectrum and stems from the Spectrum Digital Education Grant program – an $8 million commitment of cash and in-kind contributions to promote digital education and broadband technology.

“We applaud the YMCA for their education initiatives and for helping us support efforts that promote digital literacy in Missoula,” said Rahman Khan, the vice president of community impact at Spectrum. “Through this partnership with the YMCA, Spectrum is able to bring essential resources to those in need.”

As part of its renovation and redevelopment goals, the YMCA plans to construct a new STEAM Center, an e-gaming lab and a digital arts suit – all part of the innovation center.

Additional funding has been provided from local companies to both construct and equip the center as the YMCA works to meet its fundraising goals.

“With more than 7,000 western Montana kids utilizing the campus regularly, building a new youth innovation center to increase access to high-quality, out-of-school learning experiences and expand our STEAM programming is an exciting component of our campus revitalization project,” said CEO Heather Foster.

Foster said the organization has been working with the Missoula tech sector, the University of Montana and local robotics teams to design the new center.

In early October, the YMCA announced a $15 million campus revitalization project that includes a new early childcare building, as well as the youth innovation center. It also plans a new fitness studio, an expanded drop-in childcare center, coworking spaces, and room for outdoor fitness and covered courts.

Foster said the organization has raised $12 million thus far and is working to secure the remaining $3 million in hopes of beginning construction this summer. She said naming opportunities remain available.

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