Five Chicago agencies win early childhood construction grants

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Five community agencies in Chicago, and nine elsewhere in the state, have won early childhood construction grants.

One of three $5 million grants around the state will go to Christopher House – a community agency located in Belmont Cragin. The organization will demolish its current building and create new classrooms and offices.

Korean American Community Services in Irving Park received an $847,625 grant to expand slots for 2- to 5-year-olds. Other early childhood centers in Roseland, Englewood and Chatham received smaller grants.

Judith Tyson, the director of Tiny Tots Villa in Chatham, says the $100,000 grant her center is receiving will help with much-needed building repairs.

“We have had the building for over 30 years. You can imagine a building that old, has a lot of things that need to be done,” Tyson says. “Because we work with a number of special needs children here, we are hoping to be able to include therapy rooms for our children to be able to receive therapy here on site, and also a parent resource room.”

She hopes to expand the number of spots available at the center from the current 36 to 45 children.

Wednesday’s long-awaited announcement came about a year after potential grantees started submitting applications. The child care and early education centers winning the grants will have to provide a 10 percent match to the funds.

Earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools announced that of $9 million it received from the same grant program, half would go to improve early childhood facilities at Camras, Hanson Park, McCormick and Locke elementary schools. (LINK TO: http://catalyst-chicago.org/2011/12/cps-spend-659-million-school-construction-renovation/)

The district will eventually hand out another $4.5 million to community agencies around the city, but has not yet announced which ones. (LINK TO: http://catalyst-chicago.org/2012/10/early-childhood-programs-still-waiting-capital-cash/)

None of the grant recipients so far are in Brighton Park, the community most in need of early childhood spots. 

Construction grants announced by Gov. Pat Quinn:

 

  • Christopher House – $5 million, Belmont Cragin. Demolition of the current structure and construction of a new 28,500 square foot building, consisting of classroom and office spaces.
  • Korean American Community Services – $847,625, Irving Park.The scope of work provides for a renovation to expand the current facility, consisting of classroom space and child activity center. The grant will allow for an increase in 2- to 5-year old slots and services are provided in Korean, Spanish, and English.
  • Roseland Community Good News Daycare Center – $461,820, Roseland.Demolition and construction of a new building. The program focuses on serving high school and low-income working moms.
  • Chicago Urban Day School – $183,690, Englewood. Renovation of the interior and exterior of the current facility, including a new roof and windows. The renovations will allow for the reopening of classrooms.
  • Tiny Tots Villa – $100,000, Chatham. Renovation and repair of the current 2,115-square-foot facility where 97 percent of the children served come from single female households.