Youth Challenger Program facilities get a face-lift

Monday, July 22, 2019
News 12 this Morning

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Fort Gordon's Youth Challenger facilities are getting a face-lift.

The program works to shape the area's youth.

"All my discipline got way better because, I had terrible discipline when I was out of here and I got here and it all comes together and I'm changing into a man now," explains, CDT Daniel Tucker.

The Youth Challenger Program was established in 2000 for troubled youth, like Daniel. However, the director, Jarveise Reid tells News 12 the campus is much older -- it dates back to 1965.

"Both living and learning go hand and hand so if we're able to provide modern, updated facilities that's going to have a lasting impact on how they perform in the program," Jarveise said.

In May, Governor Kemp awarded the program $14 million to improve its facilities. After a recent meeting, the director tells News 12 that's still the plan but, due to unexpected costs, they're unable to revamp the entire campus.

"The cost for building a new dining facility, renovating at least three of the barracks, and moving into renovation of the GED testing lab, and at least one to two classrooms is going to come to about 14.2 million dollars," Reid says.

The current cost is $200,000 over their original budget but, the Director is the changes are necessary.

"It's important that we have state-of-the-art facilities it's so deserving of the young men and women who come to our program," Reid explains.

Construction on the first building of barracks and the dining facility is expected to start in January 2020, and right now the program is only able to accept 200 to 250 cadets. Once the new facility is completed they hope to increase that number to 300.

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