Four days till Educare Early Learning Center’s grand opening

White Center Now was there a year and a half ago when ground was broken for the Educare Early Learning Center in Greenbridge – our video shows U.S. Sen. Patty Murray helping with the ceremonial shovel-turning – and we’ll be there this Saturday for the grand-opening celebration. It’ll start with speeches at 1 pm, followed by an open house with tours 2-4 pm. It’s adjacent to White Center Heights Elementary. Read on for the official announcement:

On Saturday, March 27, there will be a grand opening of the Educare Early Learning
Center and a celebration of the years of collaborative planning and the public
private partnership that brought this innovative and nationally recognized program
to the White Center community. The event will include a ceremony to recognize key
partners and contributors, followed by building tours and activities for young
children and their families. National, state and community leaders in early learning
will take part in the ceremony.

About the Educare Early Learning Center
White Center is now the 10th community in the United States to have one of the
country’s most respected models of early learning and care. The Educare Early
Learning Center also serves as the hub for the White Center Early Learning
Initiative (WCELI), a community-wide effort to improve early learning for all
children in the White Center/Boulevard Park neighborhoods.

The Educare Early Learning Center offers full-day, year-round
infant/toddler/preschool programs for 134 children from income eligible families and
for children with disabilities. The Center also offers caregiver and educator
resources and professional development programs to enhance the quality of early
learning and care in all settings to prepare ALL children in the community to be
successful in school and life.

All young children in the White Center community-from newborns to children five
years old-can benefit from the Center’s services. As part of WCELI, a Thrive by Five
Washington demonstration community, the Center will potentially impact early
learning in the state and nation.

The Facility
Adjacent to the White Center Heights Elementary School, the Educare Early Learning
Center is part of the King County Housing Authority’s Greenbridge community, a
96-acre redevelopment of its Park Lake Homes Public Housing. The 44,000 square foot
LEED certified building features six preschool classrooms, four infant/toddler
classrooms, training rooms and community gathering spaces.

The Center was built through a strong public-private partnership of philanthropic
foundations, individual donors and county, state and federal grants and programs.

Private foundations include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who provided
significant support, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, George Kaiser Family
Foundation, Bounce Network, Thrive By Five Washington, The Norcliffe Foundation,
Paul Allen Family Foundation, The Seattle Foundation and the Norman Archibald
Charitable Foundation. A Kresge Challenge grant of $600,000 will help close out the
capital campaign.

Federal and state programs providing capital support include the Washington State
Department of Commerce and the Governor’s capital budget, U.S. Department of Health
& Human Services Head Start Program, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development,
and the King County Housing Authority. U.S. Senator Patty Murray, State
Representative Sharon Nelson and State Senator Joe McDermott helped to secure
portions of national and state public funding. Federal AARA funds of $2.6 million
over two years are making it possible to serve additional infants, toddlers and 3 to
5 year olds and their families.

In addition, the National Development Council, US Bank and ShoreBank Enterprise
Cascadia provided resources and financial expertise to maximize New Market Tax
Credit financing for the center.

The center was designed by Miller Hayashi Architects and built by Kassel Construction.

Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) operates the Center in
collaboration with the White Center Early Learning Initiative (WCELI) and Thrive by
Five Washington.

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