WALKER -- It’s been part of the Walker community while serving Livingston Parish since 1970, but the Livingston Activity Center (LAC) is taking on a new look.

And with that look will come a new name.

LAC officials hosted a group of local, state, and federal officials on Thursday, Sept. 5, to show off the progress of the new building under construction at 10494 Florida Blvd. in Walker.

“We’re very excited about the new facility,” said Linda Watts, director of the center.

The additional space will allow the center to expand its programs and serve more clients, Watts told the visitors. The non-profit LAC works with adults with disabilities through a day program and vocational program. Today, it has a waiting list.

And those additional clients will be coming to the Louisiana Association of Challenged Adults, according to Aaron Ellis, a member of the board of directors for the LAC.

 “‘Activity Center’ doesn’t tell community what we’re doing,” Ellis said.

It was decided a name change was needed to “re-introduce the center” to the community, Ellis said.

“This is a sneak peak at the work being done, a formal ribbon cutting and dedication is coming,” he said.

The 5,200-square-foot building was built on the site of two temporary buildings. It features a large open area in the center surrounded by eight rooms that will be offices, conference rooms and places where activities can be held.

The one remaining older building will be used for storage and retain its wood-working shop, Watts said.

John Blount, of Blount General Contractors, said even though the completion date is Dec. 4, work should be completed by late October. The electrical and air-conditioning systems are scheduled to be installed this week, he added.

Blount credited the progress of the project to the cooperation of Walker municipal offices.

“The City of Walker has been unbelievable,” Blount said. “When we needed help with a gas line, they were there in minutes.”

Ellis and board President Suzanne Howze welcomed those attending, which included Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., who was visiting other educational sites in Denham Springs that day.

“I’ve learned folks will contribute to their community if you give them the opportunity,” Cassidy said.

Ellis also thanked Sheriff Jason Ard and Walker Mayor Jimmy Watson, the “public face of Walker and Livingston Parish. They already believe in the activity center.”

When a special-needs child reaches age 20 and “ages out” of the school system, LAC wants them to know they have a place to go and have a role in society, Ellis said.

Walker High Principal Jason St. Pierre also was on hand to present a check for $1,200 to the center. The money was raised by students offered a “free dress day.”

Also on hand were School Superintendent Joe Murphy, School Board President Buddy Mincey, School Board member Bo Graham of Walker, state Sen. Dale Erdey, and state Rep. J. Rogers Pope.

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