Although it won’t be ready for teens until early February, the Huntsville Family YMCA opened the doors of its new teen center to give the public a glimpse Thursday night. Jessica Estes, an eighth-grader at Mance Park Middle School, gave it her stamp of approval.

Looking around at everything contained in a building that was completely empty just months ago, Estes said she was impressed not only with what the YMCA was able to do with the building, located on 1216 10th St., but with the fact that so many people worked together to provide a place for children her age to have fun.

“It’s nice to have somewhere to go after school,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a pretty fun place to hang out, watch movies and be with your friends.”

Estes said she and her friends are able to find ways to spend time together, but many times it’s at somebody’s house. When the teen center opens, she said she’ll be happy to have another place to hang out.

Plus, the center is within walking distance from Mance Park Middle School, which will make it easier for teens to drop by after school. While many high-schoolers are able to drive and have access to transportation, middle school students are not yet at the driving age, so a close location, Estes said, will bring many of them to the teen center.

“I like that it’s close to school, so we can walk here every day,” she said. “They have computers, TV and you can hang out with your friends after school.”

Although not quite a teen yet, Courtney Smith, a fourth-grader at Samuel Walker Houston Elementary, was happy with everything the building had for kids.

“It’s nice. I like it,” she said.

In addition to providing television, movies, video games and board games, the YMCA intends on implementing programs geared toward education, responsibility and making good choices.

“After we get running smooth, we’re going to offer a program called “Girls,” which is a program that puts girls in real-life situations to help them make the right choices if they ever encounter that situation,” YMCA teen coordinator Roland Rodriguez said. “We’re also going to do “Youth in Government,” which takes high-school level kids and they make up a mock bill and go to mock congress sessions.”

Most of the furnishings at the teen center were donated by the community, such as a sofa, end tables, computers and an entertainment center, as well as pool and foosball tables.

Rodriguez said even though most of the things they were hoping to acquire have been donated, there are still a few things they need, such as donations of video games (systems and games rated E or T), movies (rated G or PG), framed pictures and monetary donations.

Rodriguez, who has been working with the project since its inception, said he is overwhelmed when he looks around and sees everything they were able to do.

“I feel great about it,” he said. “From beginning to end, the change is so drastic and amazing. I feel really proud of the part that I had in helping out and being a part of this project.”