DENHAM SPRINGS – “Location, location, location,” was the mantra at Thursday’s board meeting of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Livingston Parish.

Pat Van Burkleo, CEO/president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Baton Rouge, used the expression as he stressed finding a location to house the proposed Boys and Girls Club is its first crucial step.

The discussion of a club site brought the board back to the L.M. Lockhart Park, but with a different approach,

Van Burkleo said he spoke with an official at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, but its Catholic Center is full in the afternoons and evenings with religious instruction classes.

But he noticed the temporary buildings that make up Denham Springs Elementary on church property and wondered if such temporary buildings could be placed at Lockhart Park.

Jeanette Clark, community recovery coordinator for Denham Strong, said she would contact PARDS, which runs Lockhart Park, to see if it would consider temporary buildings on the 11-acre site at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Summers Street.

Meanwhile, Clark said they would also contact principals at three schools – Denham Springs Elementary, Eastside Elementary and Southside Elementary – about serving as a club site.

“We need to reach out to them, to see is this or is this not an option,” Clark said.

Van Burkleo offered to meet with the principals. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Baton Rouge are school-based, he said.

The Livingston Parish Club would need six to seven classrooms – six at a minimum – and the use of a cafeteria or commons area, he said.

“Then there is the transportation issue,” Van Burkleo said.

Some school systems allow buses to drop off children at a Boys and Girls Club, while others don’t, he said.

Getting the use of buses is another issue, he said, which would be influenced by where the Boys and Girls Club is located.

“It would be better to have the club open until 6 p.m.,” Van Burkleo added, which would allow parents time to leave work and pick up their child.

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