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UCHRA’s $8.7 Million Head Start Program Project

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency will apply for a $8.7 million grant to expand its early head start services.

The agency is looking to build one new facility in Morrison and Sparta and buy and renovate a building in Spencer. The current Van Buren Head Start Center will serve as the headquarters. UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley said the need in the Upper Cumberland for free child care under the age of three is high.

“We are going to be prepared to start writing applications to expand this program until we get coverage across all 14 counties,” Farley said. “Then, you are going to see why we are just starting with three. That is a pretty audacious task in of itself, but really, we needed that large of a footprint.”

Farley said all three facilities would offer 24 spots for toddler day-care services. Some of those spots would also be reserved for pregnant teenagers needing baby supplies.

“They could do one. They could do two. They may do all three, or they may do none,” Farley said. “If we get all three of them, we are going to celebrate for about an hour. And then , we are going to be nervous. Because, we will have a lot of work to do.”

The 9,350 square foot Morrison center will be located south of McMinnville near the Beacon Light Apartments. Farley said the location was chosen due to the apartments housing a high amount of low income migrant families.

“From a need standpoint, it makes very much logical sense to have this right in this location,” Farley said. “It makes it very attractive that we are going for a migrant population, but we also have a large group of low-income children in this vicinity.”

Farley said the land for the Morrison location was donated by the USDA Rural Development when the UCHRA bought land to add 16 apartments to Beacon Light.

In Spencer, Farley said the agency is looking at a 3,000 square foot building to renovate. He said the inside does not need much work, but the outside will need additions, such as a playground.

The building is near Van Buren High School with the focus of addressing teen pregnancy.

The last location will be north of White County High School. Farley said a proposed 7,000 square foot facility would be built near two low income apartment facilities.

“With head start, they have told us we need to ask for everything we need upfront,” Farley said. “They are more than willing to give the money when they create the center. They are less likely to give you money to add on to it, so we have been very generous.”

The UCHRA is working with Upland Design Group for estimates on the project. The grant Application is just over $5 million dollars with $3 million dollars of yearly operationally fees added. The estimated bid price is $230 a square foot.

Farley said each center would create 12 full-time jobs.

The results of the grant application should be known at the end of December. Farley said if awarded, the project would go to bid in March. The Spencer location would have to be completed in 12 months of the bid. The Sparta and Morrison locations in 18 months.

Farley said the UCHRA conducted a feasibility study earlier this year that showed children need these services.




The post UCHRA’s $8.7 Million Head Start Program Project appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.