Northwest Recreation Center prepares to open its doors, offers after-school program

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)-- The Northwest Recreation Center is preparing to open its doors eight years after flood waters destroyed the Time Check Rec Center in Cedar Rapids.

The $4.3 million center sits on 11th Street Northwest, next to Harrison Elementary School. It is the last flood recovery project that used funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The rec center will offer many features for students, including a new program called Beyond the Bell.

The hope is for kids to get done with school at Harrison, and just walk a few short steps over here to the new rec center. But the program is open to any child in kindergarten through 8th grade.

"We meet in the gym, me and my friends and maybe some other kids, and then a lady walks us over here and plays with us, gives us snacks," Fifth grader Tyliyah Whitis said.

Kids get a quick after school snack. Then are off to play games, like pick-up soccer.

Having a safe space for kids, with supervision, is the goal behind the program. Organizers say it eases parents' worries.

"They don't have to worry about bullying or their kids getting into trouble," Athletic Coordinator Liz Malloy said.

And kids have some freedom to chose daily activities, like playing board games. Once school picks up kids will be given time to do homework.

Only four kids are registered for Beyond the Bell now.

The city and the school district will officially open the new center at 3 p.m. Thursday.