DENHAM SPRINGS – The Boys & Girls Club of Livingston Parish is still looking for a site to host the club’s program.

Pat Van Burkleo, CEO/president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater  Baton Rouge, said he toured the L.M. Lockhart Center in Denham Springs, but said it did not have enough room.

“I toured the L.M. Lockhart Center," Van Burkleo said, but it was “not an ideal situation.” 

There was a large cafeteria space and a gym, but for “effective programs we would need classroom space,” he told the steering committee for the proposed club. Dividing the gym or cafeteria space into smaller spaces would still leave a noise problem, he added.

While this might work the first year of a club being there, it would probably create “frustration after a few years,” Van Burkleo said.

Amber Dugas, owner of Taste of Louisiana (TOLA) Café in the Antique District, asked if a church where a Boy Scout troop meets might be an alternative.

Van Burkleo said a Boys & Girls Club meeting at a church is possible, although it would have to work out when it could meet against other activities such as services, weddings and vacation bible school that would be held here.

The proposed club for Livingston Parish also should check with real estate agencies to see what the cost to rent a building would be, he added.

The challenge of what a real estate agency might have listed is properties that are not family-centered – offering classroom space – or located within walking distance of the youth the club is trying to attract, Van Burkleo said.

Three areas that must be addressed before the club can being, he said, were a location, the pay scale for workers and transportation.

Membbrs of the steering committee reported that, in the Denham Springs area, businesses’ hourly pay ranges from $7.35 (McDonald’s) to $10 (Walmart) to $12 to $20 at restaurants.

Van Burkleo said LSU students are paid $10 an hour for work study jobs.

Van Burkleo also said he would contact the Livingston Parish School Board transportation department on if buses could drop children off at a site or if they might be available in the summer.

The club also must focus on writing a business plan, Van Burkleo said.

Before the club can get started, Van Burkleo said, there were several “non-negotiable” items that had to be met.

--A location must be secure to meet program needs.

--A full-time director is in place.

--Eighty percent of the money to operate the club must be in hand.

--The club must have a 3-year fund development plan written, how it would raise funds.

--All of the board of trustees must be donors.

Van Burkelo said he can draw up the outline of a budget based on 100 children as the daily average attendance, but it would not include capital expenses.

The next Boys & Girls Club meeting will be at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 10, at City Hall.


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