BEND, OR -- A major renovation project is now underway at the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge Program (OYCP), east of Bend. Director Dan Radabaugh says the work is necessary to expand capacity, "We serve high school dropouts and students failing in the mainstream high schools; we serve all 36 counties in the state of Oregon. We have a waiting list. We’re getting ready to seat this next class that begins in January; and, unfortunately, there’s going to be kids out there we’re going to have to turn down."
OYCP is housed in a former Air Force facility that Radabaugh says will be expanded by 7,000-square feet, "By the end of 2019, we should have a facility that’s up to code and we should have a new expansion that enlarges the capacity." He tells KBND News, "Currently, we can seat 312 cadets per year and the National Guard, they have a target graduate rate of 250 per year. Once the expansion is complete, we’ll be able to seat 580 cadets per year, with the National Guard [graduate] target of 400 cadets." Cadets are split between two classes, 156 students in each. That will grow to 290 in each class once work is complete. New dorms are expected to be ready for the next class of cadets that starts in January. But construction crews will still be at work on other parts of the building, "During this next class, they’re going to kind of phase through our classrooms and, at the same time, they’re going to be doing new construction on the back of the facility, adding more restrooms and additional classrooms."
The 2015 Oregon Legislature approved $5 million in bond sales for the project. Earlier this year, the National Guard and Secretary of Defense authorized another $5.3 million in federal funding.
Photos: (top) Crews work to expand OYCP's dining hall.
(above right) Gov. Brown visits OYCP cadets in March 2017.