Wednesday morning, GPS Kids Club founder Debbie Stephens and Alicia Boor, president of the GPS Kids parental advisory board, received news of a donation that will complete the first phase of needed updates on their building that will ensure the Hoisington after school and summer daycare program will be able to stay open this summer.
Larry and Kathy Schugart are donating an amount that completes the fist level goal through the Larry and Kathy Schugart Donor Advised Fund at the Golden Belt Community Foundation. The donation is specifically for the externally controlled fire alarm system required by the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s Office to be installed by May 31.
The total cost for the fire alarm system is $42,000, and so far the organization has raised half the amount through a community campaign, “$20,000 Reasons to Support GPS Kids.” The company installing the system, Firetronics, agreed last week to begin installation with only half the amount raised, and to accept payments for the remainder. The Schugart donation will make these payments unnecessary.
“This generous donation comes at the perfect moment,” Stephens said. “This means so much to us. Having the fire alarm system in place means we can now turn our attention to the second, much larger phase the fire marshal has requested.”
Phase two of the project will include installation of fire-rated doors, both inside and out. In addition, each room will need to have a fire-rated exit installed, and other upgrades to bring the building into compliance with current standards. But, the KSFM has assured Stephens the office will work with GPS to come up with a workable plan, and the facility can remain open with some restrictions in the meantime. The upgrades are necessary because the facility does not have a sprinkler system. Installation of such a system is cost prohibitive, Stephens said.
But, the total estimated cost for phase two is $150,000. Stephens and Boor will meet with the architect to determine how the project can be divided, and fundraising efforts will continue to complete each space over time.
“The sprint is completed,” Boor said. “Now, we are ready for the marathon to begin.”
The parental advisory board is working on the creation of a “Wall of Gratitude,” where all donors who have given over $100 will be listed.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support from the Schugarts and everyone who has reached out to help us keep GPS Kids open,” Stephens said.
Construction on the fire alarm system is scheduled to begin Monday, and Stephens has been assured it will be completed on time.
On Saturday, May 11, the day before Mother’s Day, Hoisington retailer The Farmhouse, has organized a community event to raise funds for the organization, and has pledged to give a percentage of sales for the day to GPS Kids. The event will include games and activities, a community barbecue, and a dance with a live DJ at the Knights of Columbus Hall that evening from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.