Turns out, the Major League Baseball All-Star game is bringing more than just America’s favorite pastime this summer.

Turns out, the Major League Baseball All-Star game is bringing more than just America’s favorite pastime this summer.

In conjunction with the July 10 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City’s Leslie Unit in Independence also is receiving significant renovations.

The MLB and Kansas City Royals are contributing more than $3.5 million toward the MLB All-Star-themed legacy initiatives and projects in the greater Kansas City area. A portion of the donation will be used to renovate the Leslie Unit, 315 S. Leslie Ave., near Thomas Hart Benton Elementary School.

On May 7, 120 club members were moved to their temporary home at the Hawthorne Unit in Independence. Demolition and renovation is under way of existing Leslie Unit space with help from Magical Builders, MLB’s representative. The Boys & Girls Clubs also are working with the Royals on interior graphics to highlight the team’s involvement with the project.

“We will have more of a classroom setting instead of an open setting, like it was before,” said Tyrone Moore, area director for the two Boys & Girls Clubs units in Eastern Jackson County. “It’s going to be a very attractive atmosphere that the club will bring. The visibility from the street will be better, and I think there will be more awareness with the branding that the clubs are here.”

Renovations should be finished before the start of the 2012-13 school year, Moore said.

Phase II of the project, which has no projected start date at this time, also includes adding a Teen Center, which supports the Boys & Girls Clubs strategy to keep 100 percent of the active club members on track for high school graduation, along with post-secondary goals.

The improvements and addition will increase the unit’s daily capacity to 250 youth, as well as expand the kitchen facility and its ability to provide daily nutritious meals.

About 80 percent of the funds needed have been raised, and state tax credits also are available to award for contributions to the project.

Two years ago, as part of the Community of Christ 2010 World Conference extreme makeover project, the Leslie Unit also received new flooring, new paint, new bookshelves and a new kitchen space. The gymnasium’s dated rubber flooring also was removed to reveal the original flooring, which was then cleaned, stripped, waxed and polished.

The renovations and celebration of the All-Star Game in Kansas City comes at an appropriate time. This marks the 100th anniversary of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Greater Kansas City, which today includes five units – two in Eastern Jackson County – across the metropolitan area.