The Duncan Banner

October 4, 2013

Youth shelter moves closer to December deadline goal

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The new Stephens County Youth Shelter has a roof and will soon have its windows in place.

During Thursday’s Duncan Chamber of Commerce & Industry community breakfast, John Herdt, executive director of Youth Services of Stephens County, provided an update on the $1.1 million construction project. Through community fundraising efforts and grants, Youth Services was able to raise enough money to build a new youth shelter.

“We’re not all the way there, but we’re getting there,” Herdt said.

The fundraising efforts for the building project started in January 2010. By June 2013, construction was ready to start, beginning with a groundbreaking June 18. Work on the new shelter began June 24.

The goal is to have the project completed in December.

“I just want to thank everyone for their help,” Herdt said.

Youth Services of Stephens County is one of 16 United Way partner agencies. Those 16 agencies receive funding from the United Way through its annual campaign. This year’s campaign has a goal of $350,000 and has already met 25 percent of the goal.

United Way was one of two sponsors for Thursday’s breakfast, sharing hosting duties with Stephens County Abstract. At each breakfast, that month’s sponsor is able to talk about its business or organization.

Although Stephens County Abstract Manager Marty Askins was given an opportunity to talk about Stephens County Abstract, Askins chose to donate his time to the United Way to give United Way Director Lauren Ellis and Campaign Chairwoman Haylee Root more time to talk about the United Way and the current campaign.

“We’re right in the middle of our campaign,” Ellis said. “We’re working on new initiatives. One of our new initiatives is education.”

Ellis and Root said although this year’s campaign started earlier than the past few years and has already started making significant headway, 99 percent of the money raised through the campaign will be used to help people in Stephens County.

About 16,000 people are helped each year through the United Way.

“We are thrilled and excited about it,” Root said about the progress made on this year’s goal. “We still have aways to go.”

For the monthly drawing of $75, Hal Labyer was the winner. Labyer donated the money to the United Way of Stephens County.

Herdt also gave recognition for what United Way of Stephens County does for the entire county.

“Being with a United Way agency, I just want to say, support the United Way,” Herdt said.

Other items:

n Duncan Public Schools Superintendent Sherry Labyer provided an update on construction projects throughout the school district.

Labyer said the new press box at Halliburton Stadium is mostly complete. The project is being paid with building funds. The bid accepted for the project was $564,340 by L. Wallace Construction. The bid was approved during the Duncan Board of Education’s April 9 regular meeting.

“We’re glad the school district was able to find the funds to do it,” Labyer said. “We’re pretty proud of that project.”

Labyer also talked about construction on the Duncan High School, which is part of a $19.03 million bond issue approved by Duncan voters Feb. 14, 2012.

“The south portion of Duncan High School is all boarded up; it is gutted,” Labyer said. “The west side had dirt work being done. Soon, they’ll start building what will be our commons area.”

n Duncan Regional Hospital Foundation will have its gala Oct. 29 at the Simmons Center. The theme is “Taste of the World.”

n The Save the 905 organization is working on restoring the boiler section of the Rock Island 905 locomotive in Fuqua Park. This section makes up about 95 percent of the train.

“We’re on the final stages,” Save the 905 President Mike Suckert said. “It’s the final two years.”

Christmas lights on the train will be lit in a ceremony Dec. 14.