(Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, KY) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 27--With a hefty donation from Old National Bank, the H.L. Neblett Community Center will update its classroom computers and expand its public computer lab.
The bank donated 30 refurbished desktop computers, 15 laptops, six printers and other computer equipment totaling about $20,000 after the center was denied a grant.
"The grant was for six computers, but this is a lot more than we expected, so we're happy," said Executive Director Rick Searcy.
Searcy said the grant chair contacted him with the option to choose the computers. The bank donates refurbished equipment to nonprofit organizations when it transitions to new equipment. The first donation this year was to the Elizabeth Munday Senior Center, which received 50 computers.
"Old National is a strong believer in community and our goal is to build strong, lasting relationships within it," said Sam Taylor, vice president of the bank's Owensboro Main Retail Center and member of the Old National Bank Foundation board. "Nonprofit organizations are a vital piece of this community, so if we're not helping them, we're not helping the community."
Though the computers have been delivered, Searcy said they'll be installed in phases, the first of which will replace two outdated computers in the center's public computer lab by the first week of September..
"This will give people the opportunity for free access to check email, fill out job applications, skills training, several different things," he said.
The computer lab currently doubles as a meeting room. Searcy said the conference table and chairs may be moved to accommodate more computers. Expanding the room by knocking out one of its walls is also a long-term possibility, though no plans are confirmed for that yet, he said.
Since the center is a site for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, a free nationwide tax preparation program offered locally through the United Way, the computers can also be used by volunteers during tax season.
While the computers will greatly help the public, Searcy said they are key in helping the most important people at the center.
"Our children will have the tools to succeed like anywhere else," he said.
By Jan. 1, each of the six classrooms will have a computer with such software as ABC Mouse, an interactive online curriculum for pre-K through kindergarten children; and Brigance, a collection of assessment, screening and instructional tools for early childhood education. Both software programs will be new to the center.
"We know how important the Neblett Center is to Owensboro, so we're glad to help," Taylor said. "Whether they're used for studying, homework, updating resumes, (the computers) will benefit a lot of people."
The computer lab is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is at 801 W. Fifth St.
Angela Oliver, 691-7360, email@example.com
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