By Tim Leeds
There could be a youth activity center in Havre's near future.
HELP is proposing to convert Devlin Elementary School, which was closed by Havre Public Schools in spring, into a Boys and Girls Club. The item was included in the School Board's packet for Tuesday night's meeting and likely will be discussed. No decision will be made.
School Superintendent Kirk Miller said today that he will present pros and cons of the proposal to the board but isn't ready to make an official recommendation until all aspects are evaluated, including other possible uses, potential problems and the cost.
"Personally, I think it would be a great use of the building because it continues to allow us to offer services for kids in a facility that was built to offer services for kids," he said.
Devlin was closed in the restructuring of Havre Public Schools last spring because of declining enrollment and shrinking budgets. Miller said the discussion about leasing Devlin to open a Havre club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America began in September, and led to 30 hours of work over three meetings last month.
Organizations involved in the meetings included HELP, Havre Public Schools, District IV Human Resources Development Council, the Hill County Extension Agency, the Vista Volunteer program and the Havre Ministerial Association. HELP is the Havre Encourages Long-range Prevention organization.
The proposal includes a section about why Havre should have such a youth facility, a description of HELP and how it would manage and operate the club and a three-year plan for programs.
Miller said he wants the board to see the "wonderful" job HELP and the rest of the ad hoc committee did in putting together the detailed proposal about the potential uses and management for a Boys and Girls Club.
The proposal includes a possible start-up date of June. Possible uses of the club include a life skills and family support center, which could include after-school activities, goal setting, job exploration, family fun nights, parenting classes and referral to community services.
The club also could hold a technology center in the former computer lab. The lab meets requirements of the U.S. Department of Justice, which plans to install 22,000 technology centers in Boys and Girls Clubs.
Another possible use would be an arts center, with theater, music, dance, arts and crafts, and photography.
An open gym, sports clinics, and other health and fitness programs could be offered.
The School Board board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Havre Middle School.