A large crowd gathered for Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony held at 3108 Fairview Drive, where the new Department of Juvenile Justice Day Treatment Center opened three weeks ago in Owensboro. City and county officials, judges, Owensboro and Daviess County Public Schools board members among many others were in attendance to celebrate the new 10,000 square-foot building that county commissioner Mike Koger bought with the purpose of giving students a fresh environment in which to learn.
“I call it a vision, of what it should look like,” Koger said. “I talked to Donna and said, ‘What do you think?’ We made some additions, like with the flooring and the windows — the windows weren’t included, but we knew that it would look a lot better, and it would make everybody proud of it, and it’d be easier to maintain.”
Koger and his wife Donna worked for nearly five months — even throughout Koger’s recent campaign for county commissioner of the east district — to bring the Owensboro Day Treatment Center into existence. As a general contractor, Koger bought the property through Koger Properties by placing the winning bid on the former wirehouse.
“We knew how we would turn it around to make it nice, and so we just had a lot of good sub-contractors, and a good woman here,” Koger said of his wife, who assisted him with the renovations.
Jaclyn Graves, Membership Development Manager with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, hosted the ribbon-cutting ceremony and voiced her appreciation toward Koger and the many people in attendance for the event, as well as the hands who helped make the new Day Treatment Center a reality.
“This represents our most prized possession, and that is our kids. All of our kids are going to come, and they’re going to be taken care of,” Graves said. “We have tons of elected officials here, people from different sectors of business, and where they come from — we’re all here because we have a responsibility to our kids. Thank you for loving these kids and for taking care of them,” Graves said.
The Owensboro Day Treatment Center is twice the size of the former 5,000 square foot Owensboro Treatment Center, Jason Koger said. The new building includes four classrooms, a library, a large multipurpose room, bathrooms with motion-detector lighting, a computer lab, a conference room and offices and storage closets throughout.
Superintendent Keith Wells said the new building has already been beneficial for the students.
“It’s already done tremendous things for our kids, just being in something new. For our kids, that’s something that most of them haven’t been able to experience,” Wells said. “They love the new smell of the paint, the new floors. You can see with some of our kids, the way they’re responding — it’s a little different than it was in the older facility. [We’re able] to do more treatment things because there’s more space.”
Wells said that he loves his job and the people he works with because they truly care about the children who attend their program.
“There’s no bad kids. We’ve got a bunch of kids who made some bad choices, but there are no bad kids,” Wells said.
The Department of Juvenile Justice Day Treatment Center provides youth between 12 and 17 years of age with a normal classroom schedule and highly individualized instruction, along with individual, group and family counseling.
Priority for the program is given to youth who are transitioning from juvenile justice programs and facilities, youth who face the risk of out-of-home placement and youth with a history of severe behavioral issues in school or in the community.
DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins said he and the rest of the DCPS Board of Education have been very proud of the program’s success over the years.
“It meets a critical need for students in our community,” Robbins said. “We’re looking forward to the next decade, two decades and beyond.”