EAST WENATCHEE — Seedlings Center for Early Learning’s new $5.6 million East Wenatchee campus in the 100 block of Eastmont Avenue is starting to take shape.
Pacific Mobile Structures Inc., the general contractor on the project, had a crane on site last week to put into place the 13,200-square-foot modular building that, if all goes according to plan, will replace the aging three-building campus at 1901 Rock Island Road next spring.
The Migrant Seasonal Head Start program has operated out of the current facility since the 1990s. The federal program provides early learning education services from spring through fall each year for children from birth through age 5 whose parents are seasonal and migrant farmworkers.
Yakima-based Educational Service District 105, through an agreement with Wenatchee-based North Central Educational Service District 171, was awarded the contract in 2015 to provide Migrant Seasonal Head Start services in East Wenatchee, Bridgeport and Yakima. It does so through a partnership with Yakima-based Enterprise for Progress in the Community (EPIC), a private nonprofit. The partnership is referred to as Seedlings Center for Early Learning.
“The building on Rock Island Road has been in significant need of replacement for several years,” said Chris McCallum, ESD 105’s early learning facilities and operations supervisor, with classrooms that were too small, complications with the septic system, too few restrooms and the kitchen located in a separate building that required food to be transported between buildings.
Those issues were confirmed during a site visit by representatives from the Office of Head Start in 2016, he said.
When the opportunity to apply for a new facility grant became available last year, ESD 105 jumped at it and was awarded the funds in September 2018. The property was purchased in October 2018 and the design and permit work through the city of East Wenatchee progressed from there. It is expected to be finished by May 1.
“The new facility will provide a high-quality experience for children, parents and staff,” McCallum said. “It will be built like a school, with spacious classrooms and adjacent teacher offices, instead of having the offices in separate buildings as they were before.”
The new building will have capacity for 84 students — 20 more than the current facility — with six classrooms — three for preschoolers and another three for infants and toddlers — along with a full-service kitchen, office space, laundry facility and community room. The campus also will include two large playgrounds with bike paths, shade canopies over the play areas and a storage building.
The property, accessed off Eastmont Avenue, sits east of Eastpoint Plaza commercial building and west of the irrigation canal, north of Grant Road.
Project funding — which includes an estimated $3.1 million cost for the building and $1.5 million for site development being done by Pipkin Construction — comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Office of Head Start.
“The biggest challenge we foresee is trying to complete the building by spring 2020 with the unpredictability of weather and other unanticipated project delays,” McCallum said.
For information on EPIC programs, call 293-7006.