A year after being displaced by the expansion of I-35, Temple’s Ralph Wilson Youth Club is one step closer to opening a new, improved facility.

During a ceremony Tuesday near Travis Science Academy, ground was broken on a planned $8 million, seven acre campus that will include education, recreation and athletic centers. The education center will work with Temple Independent School District to provide homework and tutoring programs, a computer lab, and a health and nutrition program. The new youth club will also share resources with Travis Science Academy, including bus services and cafeteria facilities.

RWYC Board President Dean Winkler expressed the feeling of relief that comes with finally seeing the group’s Moment in Time capital campaign coming to fruition.

“We’ve been working on this since 2011,” he said. “It’s been a long process - a lot of meetings. But we’re pumped and ready to go now.”

Winkler said the new center’s location adjacent to Travis Science Academy on South 19th Street is ideal for serving area youth.

“It’s the perfect location. It’s in the center of town. The City of Temple is going to build a connecting street to 25th street, and another group in town is going to handle landscaping along the street. It’s a great community effort.”

Executive Director Charlie Kimmey expressed thanks to those who attended today’s groundbreaking.

“The crowd was just overflowing,” he said. “It was just really, really special. It was a great day for Temple.”

Kimmey shared in Winkler’s excitement about the new location and what it will offer kids.

“The other facility had served us well since 1970,” he said.”After 42 years, we were forced to move. Our capital campaign was entitled A Moment in Time, and it was probably a moment in time that we needed to make a move and get a new facility. Repairs and maintenance were killing us, and we needed more space. This was a dream come true.”

According to Kimmey, construction is set to begin September 8, and the facility could open in 10 to 12 months.