Bonem House set to open

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

A new youth shelter facility opening in Portales this month will give children who are out of options a safe place to live.

The new Bonem House will open July 18 in Portales as an eight-bed treatment facility for children between the ages of 7 and 12. The just-completed facility located at 1111 W. Fir St., was built by Roosevelt County with funding through a state Community Development Block Grant. It will be operated by TeamBuilders Counseling Services which is headquartered in Tucumcari and serves Portales, Clovis and Tucumcari.

TeamBuilders staff will watch over the children 24 hours a day. There will be eight youthcare specialists taking care of the children living in the home, according to TeamBuilders’ management.

With four bedrooms, a dining area, kitchen and lounge area the facility will accomodate up to eight children at a time.

“We’ll be teaching them how to pick up for themselves, getting ready for school and social skills,” Alfredo Lujan, program coordinator, said. “Our focus will be on the local kids from Portales and Clovis. We’ll take other kids, if there is a need, from other parts of the state.”

The children will be from court-ordered or protective services. Lujan said TeamBuilders staff members will begin taking referrals immediately after the grand opening from agencies such as Children Youth and Families Department.

The facility was named the Bonem House in honor of former district judge David Bonem who served for many years as a district attorney and judge in the 9th Judicial District.

“We’re excited that we can offer a much-needed shelter for kids,” Charlene Hardin, Roosevelt County administrator, said. “There is a foster-home shortage and the kids get shuffled around. This gives them a place to stay here (Portales), close to their friends and family.”

Hardin said the CDBG application was submitted in 2002 and the county received $500,000 for the youth shelter. While the county was waiting to hear the fate of the application, the cost of the home went up to $528,000 because of rising cost of construction materials and additional engineering costs. County officials bit the bullet last fall and ended up paying for the additional $28,000 out of the regular budget. Hardin said the county also had to pay for the architectural services at a cost of $52,000. Total cost of designing and constructing the Bonem House was close to $600,000.

A public grand opening of the Bonem Home is set for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. July 18.

During the grand opening, TeamBuilders staff members will be accepting donations for the Bonem House. Lujan said the donations will go toward paying for books, board games, playground equipment and other items.