After school program set for Douglas Brown Center

OKEECHOBEE — The Delagall Foundation’s plan to expand an after school program to serve children in the Douglas Brown community moved ahead on Sept. 25 with approval of an agreement by the Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners agreed to waive the regular facility rental fees, which would have totaled $10,800 for the year, and charge only for custodial services and cleaning supplies.

The Delagall Foundation will be required to give the county a $250 security deposit, maintain insurance, provide the county with regular financial updates and meet other legal requirements.

Community Services Director Albie Scoggins explained that the Delagall Foundation wants to use the Douglas Brown Center auditorium on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“The program does provide a public benefit for the children in that area,” said Mr. Scoggins.

He said this use will have very little impact on the scheduling for that center, although there will be times when other groups want to use that building for community meetings.

“Mr. Delagall is going to have to be willing to work with the county in those regards,” he said.
Under the regular county schedule, rental fees would be $100 per day for up to 3 hours use.

“We will have to have a custodian come in and clean that building because there will be other use of that building by community groups at night or the next morning,” Mr. Scoggins explained. The Delagall Foundation will pay $45 per week for custodian service, plus $25 per week for cleaning supplies. Mr. Scoggins said they estimated one hour of cleaning, three times a week at $15 per hour to come up with that weekly fee.

He said the county has given nonprofit groups special rates in the past if they are providing a service to the community.

The Delagall Foundation, Inc. is a Florida Non-Profit 501(c) 3 whose main goal is to feed Okeechobee School Students with food insecurity issues. The objective of the foundation is to make sure that school aged students are provided meals during the school year during the after school hours when their only regular source of food may be the free and reduced breakfast and lunch at school.

The Delagall Foundation started their after school program at a church, but needs more space to serve more students. They requested use of the Douglas Brown Community Center Auditorium for their after school program from Oct. 2 to Dec. 14, 2018 and Jan. 9 to May 31, 2019. The program will be held every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. There will also be some Saturday use requested based on the availability of the auditorium.

The Delagall Foundation also requested some storage space at the Douglas Brown Community Center for their equipment.

“I believe there is a public benefit,” said Mr. Scoggins. “I believe there is a need. If the program does what it is proposed to deliver, it can be a good thing.

“After school hours are critical. It can keep kids out of trouble and give them a place to go,” said Mr. Scoggins.

“I think it is a good investment in the future,” said Commissioner Bryant Culpepper.

Mr. Scoggins said the county has budgeted funds to replace the flooring and repaint the auditorium this year.

“I will do my very best to have that done over the Christmas break,” he said, but added that the county may need some flexibility on the timing of that project.

He said he will try not to displace the Delagall Foundation program, “but cannot guarantee it will not be an inconvenience for a day, a week or a couple weeks.”

Due to the age of the floor, “we are guessing it could be asbestos tiling due to the age of the floor. As soon as we start taking tiles off, we will have a better idea,” he said.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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