Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, July 15, 2021 @ 1:19 p.m. / Education

Del Norte County Office of Ed Proposes Purchasing Former Orthopedic Practice for a New DNUSD Family Services Center

Saying the district doesn’t currently have the ability to house some of its new hires, Del Norte County Superintendent of Schools Jeff Harris successfully made the case for purchasing Dr. Greg Duncan's old orthopedic practice on Marshall Street.

Harris, who is also the Del Norte Unified School District superintendent, told trustees last week that the County Office of Education would purchase the building at 1200 Marshall Street “at no cost to the district.” The district would use the building as a Family Services Center to serve its neediest students, Harris said.

Trustees at their July 8 meeting agreed to allow Harris and DNUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Jeff Napier to proceed with the purchase of the 3,777 square-foot building.

“We (will) do coordination of services, so our foster youth department can meet with a student and meet with a foster family,” he told trustees. “They can help them identify, maybe, healthcare, help hook them up with school counselors and help with things like making sure they have a full schedule.”

Other services the new facility could provide include referrals to other agencies or departments within DNUSD or the County Office of Education as well as tutoring, Harris said. There will be a space for meetings as well as the possibility of installing a washer and a dryer to give homeless youth a chance to do laundry away from their peers, Harris said.

“We talked about doing family outreach,” he said. “there are some larger spaces where a district or county person could meet with a family and have a broader discussion potentially with other departments or stakeholders in the same room as well.”

Currently listed on Bayside Realty for $399,900, Harris said the potential purchase of the building would be a one-time expense for the County Office of Education and would come out of its general fund.

The Del Norte County Office of Education has a $1.4 million fund balance, Harris said. DNCOE would be able to pay cash for the building and still provide activities and services to the youth it serves and hire for the positions it has budgeted for, he said.

Harris said doesn’t anticipate opening the facility until January. In addition to going through the purchase process, the building needs to have a commercial appraisal and an environmental inspection, he said. It would also need some technological upgrades as well, he said, and DNUSD is in the process of hiring.

The building’s location, near the intersection of Harding Avenue and Northcrest Drive in Crescent City, is close to the Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services and down the street from Del Norte Community School and Bess Maxwell Elementary School, according to Harris.

He noted that the County Office of Education’s role is to support programs for its expelled students, foster and homeless youth as well as students that are struggling academically or with attendance.


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