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Council approves another step towards new Head Start facility

Lakeview Town Council voted in favor of resolution 862 at the Tuesday, April 22 regular session, approving a community development block grant (CDBG) contract for construction of a new Head Start building in Lakeview.

It is the latest step in a lengthy process to acquire federal funding for the planned new Head Start building, with land already purchased on K Street between 10th and 11th streets and preliminary artist renditions of the new structure established.

It is the third project to fall under the South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD), dedicated towards building cooperation and collaboration between private, public and community entities supporting planned growth for affordable housing, workforce training and renewable energy development.

Head Start is a federal program that promotes school readiness of children through age 5 from low-income families, enhancing cognitive, social and emotional development. A Head Start facility is already in operation in Lakeview, however the property is leased from a private landlord and the program has desired a larger space.

A grant was approved in January, with the next step following approval of resolution 862 being to establish a grant administration agreement with SCOEDD, followed by an ADA compliance review of Lakeview public facilities while work on getting contractors in place and architectural designs drawn up.

The Town of Lakeview has been involved for two years trying to establish a new Head Start facility, with the desired location changing several times before the current lot was purchased from the county through a tax foreclosure.

“It’s a lengthy process,” said Town Mgr.Ray Simms of the grant application process and steps required from seeking federal funding to the start of construction of a new facility.

“Don’t expect construction to start until at least late this fall, probably next spring or summer. The grant completion will probably cover three budget years before it is completely finished.”

Grant funds come from the federal level then are divvied out to states, which then determine cities or counties most deserving of funding. While SCOEDD will oversee the process, the town is ultimately responsible for the outcome of the project.

Construction of a new Head Start facility will cut overhead operating costs and provide a larger, more energy-efficient space for the program. At this time cost estimates of the project exist, though that is subject to change once architectural and engineering services proposal requests are completed and final construction plan bids are submitted.

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