The head of the local Boys & Girls Club is asking Walmart to give the agency a soon-to-be-vacated Sam's Club building on Madison's Far West Side so that it can be converted into a regional sports and job-training complex.
Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, said he mailed a letter today to the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Walmart announced Thursday that the-106,000 square-foot Sam's Club at 7050 Watts Road would close Jan. 26.
In addition to the building, Johnson is asking the world's largest retailer to provide a "lead investment" to convert the building and a "Walmart space planner to work with our volunteers to redesign the location."
Johnson said the idea for the request came from his 13-year-old son.
His family shops at Sam's Club and when they discovered it would be closing, his son said, "'dad, why don't they turn it into a sports complex for kids?'
"It might be a long shot," Johnson said, "but I think it's worth asking so that's why I'm doing it."
Johnson said that if Walmart donates the building, "I think I could raise $1 million in a month" for renovations.