CV Tech Students Renovate New DAV Headquarters

CV Tech instructor Chad Bailey discusses floor dry stripping technique with Service Careers students inside the newly renovated Disabled American Veterans chapter offices at Sixth Street and Chickasha Avenue. Pictured are (from left) Bailey and students Nick Ellis, Bryce Dolch, Wayne England, Jesse Withey, Jesse Graham and Josh Nail.

January 26, 2018

CHICKASHA – Students who are enrolled in a variety of programs at Canadian Valley Technology Center recently joined forces to provide a facelift to a tired and neglected downtown building.

As a result, the community’s Disabled American Veterans (DAV) office has been relocated to the corner building at Sixth Street and Chickasha Avenue.

The building formerly housed public safety personnel from the city’s police and fire departments. Its new purpose is providing DAV volunteers a central location to serve former U.S. armed services members.

Students in CV Tech’s Service Careers program probably worked the most, said Student Services Director Ronnie Bogle. Ten students dry stripped and buffed an aging terrazzo floor on the main floor of the two-story building.

“We had students from six programs work on renovations,” Bogle said. “It’s pretty impressive when you consider how much work collectively they were able to get done.”

Bogle said instructors in many of the programs look outside the walls of the school each year for public service projects, so long as it fits the curriculum and skill level of students.

Grady County Sheriff’s deputy Michael Chavers, who also doubles as Student Resource Officer at the school, said the students’ work likely saved the DAV group thousands of dollars.

FLOORS REFINISHED
“These old floors were completely restored back to original condition,” Chavers said. “It’s absolutely amazing. They look brand new.”

Students in the school’s Heating and Air Conditioning program managed to get the building HVAC and electrical systems fully operational.

Graphic Design students made an exterior sign. Computer Information Systems students set up computers and printers that had been donated to the DAV.

“They got all the computers operational so we could take care of clients,” Chavers said. “That’s what we are here to do.”

NEW OFFICE HOURS
The DAV offices will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each weekday. Services to veterans and their families include a review of medical benefits or medical care.

Nationally, DAV assists veterans with more than a quarter million benefit claims each year. In 2016, (the latest year data is available) DAV helped attain more than $4 billion in new and retroactive benefits to care for veterans, their families and survivors

Chavers said the local DAV office will soon launch a transportation service that will enable accessible van transport to and from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Oklahoma City.

“The ride will be free,” he said.

Additionally, a food pantry has been established at the new DAV location.

“We’re just getting started,” Chavers said. “We’re only a week and a half into it.”

The upstairs of the building was once used as a sleeping quarters for firefighters but is not being used right now, Chavers said.

DEMOLITION CANCELED
The city owns the building. It was scheduled for demolition until DAV volunteers petitioned the city council to instead repurpose it.

“We hated to see it destroyed,” Chavers said. “There is a viable need here for veterans. Fortunately, the city council agreed.”

Lease terms will result in annual payments of $1.

City officials are still working on terms for reimbursement of some of the utility costs associated with the building, he said.

DAV offices were actually relocated from the technology center. An office was open twice each week for nearly two years on the campus.

“Canadian Valley has done nothing but support (DAV),” Chavers said. “I don’t have a big enough thank you to (CV Tech Campus Director) Tracy Goyne and Ronnie Bogle for all the help they provided us so that veterans have a place to go for resources they have earned through their military service to our nation.”

Available resources include locating often hard-to-find medical records. In some cases, Chavers said, DAV volunteers simply work to make veterans aware of benefits for which they are entitled.

City officials had toyed with the idea for potentially turning the building into a civic group office mall before opting instead to raze it. At least for the immediate future, the building will stand. 

DAV is a non-profit charitable organization. For more information about available veterans services or to make a tax-deductible donation, call the DAV offices at (405) 448-5110.