UCAP gets $2.5 million to begin Head Start construction

MARSHALL — After months of planning, United Community Action Partnership has been awarded $2.533 million from the Office of Head Start toward the construction of a Head Start facility.

UCAP Executive Director Nancy Straw said the award announcement brings relief and excitement.

“This has been a long and intensive process, and we’re so excited to finally be preparing for construction,” she said.

The Head Start program has been an active part of the Marshall community for over 50 years. In that time, it has helped thousands of families prepare their children for success, and impacted countless lives, but it has never had a home of its own. UCAP has been leasing space for Head Start classrooms from Grace Life Church for over a decade.

“Grace Life has been such a generous partner for many years,” said Straw.

Grace LIfe has expanded this past year and needed the rooms that it had previously been renting out. Grace LIfe had notified Head Start well in advance that there would no longer be classroom space for them in the fall of 2018. However, after a fruitless search by UCAP for a suitable space that could meet strict Head Start licensing requirements, the church was able to extend its agreement with Head Start and accommodate the program for another school year by modifying its plans for construction and use of space.

“We’re happy to see them growing, and excited for the new ventures this change offers both organizations,” Straw said.

Construction on the Head Start building will begin as soon as the weather allows contractors to break ground. The building will house five Head Start classrooms, three Early Head Start classrooms and one state-funded Early Head Start socialization space.

It will be located next to the UCAP main office location at 1400 S. Saratoga Street, Straw said.

“It’s been a goal for a long time to have our own Head Start facility. To have it becoming reality right next door is even better than we hoped for,” she said.

Plans for the building have been completed by the architectural firm Widseth Smith Nolting, and if everything goes as planned, Head Start will move into the facility this fall.

“Getting started is great, but the real reward is going to be seeing the building filled with kids,” said Straw.

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