DAC Executive Director Charlie Oakes in his new office in the newly-renovated building. The $1.6 million project was funded almost entirely by donations. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

The Developmental Achievement Center in Morris held an open house yesterday for their newly-remodeled facility. The $1.6 million project involved a complete overhaul of the complex, with a 4,000 square foot addition, newly designed parking lot, upgrades to plumbing and electrical systems, and new bathrooms and kitchen. DAC Executive Director Charlie Oakes told the KMRS Early Morning Show that 2 percent of the population has a learning disability, and such prevalence made fundraising for the project smoother.

“And when you’re in a town the size of Morris, everybody knows us. We’re part of the fabric of the community,” said Oakes. “And that’s one of the wonderful things about rural Minnesota. If you go to a bigger community, programs are easy to ignore. But here, we are your neighbors, you see us in church and you see us out at the workplace and you know who we are. And that pays a tremendous dividend when it comes time to do something big like this.”

Other added features include closed circuit cameras for added security, new handrails throughout the building, and extra offices for social services. Oakes said the improvements will be good for the facility for another 30 years and praised the local community for its support as the entire project was funded by donations.

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