Delays push back opening of county Family Center to November

September 27, 1992|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

A planned center for teen-age and young adult parents is likely to open in November rather than in October as its staff had hoped, but county officials say the project is progressing satisfactorily.

Opening of the Carroll County Family Center will be delayed several weeks because the county government temporarily halted renovations to consolidate projects, center Director Susan M. Mitchell reported last week.

The county government is renovating space for the center on the third floor of the county-owned Barrel House on Distillery Drive in Westminster.

"There really is no delay as far as I'm concerned," said John C. Cole, assistant chief of the county building services bureau. "Her expectations were a lot quicker than I thought it could be done."

Mr. Cole said he had never promised the staff that the family center would open in October.

He declined to project an opening date, but said he is satisfied with progress of the work based on "my personal time line."

He said he didn't want to reveal his estimate of construction time because he couldn't foresee emergencies that would take priority.

Lack of space hampers starting programs, Ms. Mitchell said. "I'm very upset about it because I have all kinds of agencies giving me referrals," she told the Human Services Program board last week.

Sylvia V. Canon, executive director of the agency, said she was not troubled by the situation.

"HSP values the county's contribution to the Carroll Family Center," she said.

"The working partnership with the county uses the skills of their workmen and the county's cost-effective purchasing of materials to stretch available program dollars. This is a real help in bringing these new services here."

The family center is planned as a one-stop facility where teen and young adult parents of up to age 25 can learn to hold, feed and play with their babies, talk out problems and obtain information on contraception. It aims to serve 40 families a month.

Ms. Mitchell said the full program cannot begin until renovations are completed. But she plans to start weekly lunch discussion sessions within weeks.

The center was scheduled to open in August, but it went on hold after county workers discovered a leak around rooftop air-conditioning condensers and because the staff had other priorities, Mr. Cole said.

"We're a maintenance department, not a construction department," he said.

The center is financed by a $135,000 operating grant from Friends of the Family Inc., a Baltimore agency that administers state financing for family support centers.

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