Beset by what was thought to be a death blow by the Division of Blind Services, a 41-year-old social-services provider, the Conklin Center for the Blind, will remain open at least temporarily, an official said Friday.


DAYTONA BEACH — The Conklin Center for the Blind, which had announced it would close its doors for good on Friday following a series of scathing allegations by state officials, will instead remain open.


At least for the time being.


Nancy Epps, a Conklin Center board member, said a portion of the 41-year-old nonprofit’s clients will continue to receive services for at least another week or two. In fulfilling its unique mission to work with people with blindness and at least one other disability, Conklin provided training to residential clients and then, upon graduation, offered continued coaching to individuals living independently in the Daytona Beach area.


The residential clients have all been moved; either back home or to the Division of Blind Services across White Street from Conklin’s facility. The division had been the source of funding for the Conklin Center, but cut funding after determining the center had breached its contract in ways “that present potential to endanger the health, safety and welfare of the clients.”


But a state payment for services rendered in January and February was enough to avoid closing on Friday, Epps said.


“We have found funding to continue the services to our clients in the community for a short time until we can get the longer term plan in place,” Epps wrote in a text message.


[READ ALSO: Daytona Conklin Center for the Blind CEO terminated ahead of closure]


[READ ALSO: Community spruces up Conklin Center for the Blind]


The closure was to have cut off services to more than 50 clients and left some 40 employees jobless. Seven members of the Conklin staff have agreed to stay, working to continue coaching the graduates in the short term.


“This is excellent news,” Epps said.


Graduates of the Conklin Center had been given a promise: Lifetime coaching. That weighed on board members and staff as the closure loomed.


“We had a moral obligation,” Epps said. “Staff were so dedicated they were volunteering to do it on their own.”


But that creates liability concerns the Conklin board would rather not assume.


Epps said the board has dwindled in size, and funding will remain a week-to-week challenge.


CEO Kelly Harris, who was terminated Wednesday, has not been replaced and a board chair has not been named. Epps said the board and staff were collaborating as a team.


The Conklin Center building sits on state land with a long-term, low-cost lease. The building is owned by the Florida Lions Club, which was instrumental in opening the center in 1979.


The Division of Blind Services oversaw a contract covering the residential training of Florida residents on campus. That funding provided $1.6 million last year, and more in previous years, but was cut off from the Conklin Center following a series of evaluations that determined, among other issues:


● Failure to notify the state of a basement that had flooded and presented “health and safety concerns” related to mold;


● Discrepancies and conflicting documentation in clients’ medical records;


● Altering client records in the Division of Blind Services database;


● Failing to keep the required number of residential clients, 14. Conklin had just nine residents at the time of state monitoring;


● Operating without required credentialed professionals, including a certified vision rehabilitation therapist and an orientation and mobility specialist.


Prior to her dismissal, Harris and her staff produced a 30-page response to the Division of Blind Services, refuting many of the allegations. She “absolutely, emphatically” denied clients’ health and safety were ever at risk.