The Duncan Banner

November 14, 2013

New youth shelter nearing completion

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — From the start of construction, the estimated completion date for the new Stephens County Youth Shelter has been Dec. 10 and it’s looking like everything is on schedule.

Work on the building began in mid-June and has stayed on track since. Whatever the final day of construction is, there is a definite open house scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Dec. 15 for the shelter, located at 806 N. Cedar.

“We’ll hopefully be moved in before the first of the year,” said John Herdt, executive director of Youth Services. “It’s going great.”

Youth Services board members and Youth Shelter committee members have set up registries at Walmart, The Lemon Tree and Distinctive Decor for the shelter. Several office and home supplies are still needed to complete the mission of a new safe place for children in need to go.

“Volunteers will be serving refreshments and providing mini-tours of the new home,” said Barbra Davis, youth shelter director. “This is an exciting and significant move for the shelter staff.”

Efforts to make this dream come true were started almost four years ago. Several fundraisers took place and many grant applications filled out to finally raise enough money to get started.

Numerous individuals, organizations and businesses also supported the effort. Total estimated cost for the shelter is $749,000.

“It’s such a blessing how everyone has gotten behind the project and we’re appreciative to the community for their support,” said Herdt. “It’s about to become a reality and everyone is definitely hoping to get over there as soon as we can.”

The shelter will house bedrooms for boys, girls and an infant room, as well as a visitation room, kitchen area, and recreation room.

Youth Services began using the current location at 420 S. 8th St. for the youth shelter in 1979. It serves abused or neglected children, runaway and homeless youth, and provides temporary shelter, advocacy and services for children in Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties.

With the building’s age, layout and size, board members began to look into the idea of a new building rather than try to fix the old one. In November 2008, land for the new site was donated and a fundraising campaign for building construction, landscaping and furnishing began in January 2010.

“Leaving 8th Street will cause some tears as we reflect on the important and loving work that has occurred there for over 30 years,” Davis said. “However, moving in this new home will evoke tears of excitement and joy.”