EVERETT — Five early learning centers are expanding in Everett, Lynnwood and Bothell, adding more than 220 child care openings across Snohomish County.
The early learning centers collectively received more than $4 million this year from the state Department of Commerce Early Learning Facilities program. The money is for new construction or major renovations.
Evergreen Recovery Centers, a nonprofit that helps people recover from addiction, received $1 million. The organization is building a new center for mothers in recovery and their children.
“We have been planning this for the better part of 20 years,” CEO Linda Grant said.
The center will have large apartments for mothers with multiple children and an early learning center with five classrooms. The mothers receive parenting and mental health counseling while in treatment. The learning center will accept up to 50 children.
“It’s a great opportunity to provide the whole family help,” Grant said. “… Our goal is to create the best possible experience for moms that are starting over in life.”
The nonprofit is in the final permitting stages of the Evergreen Manor Family Center on Summit Avenue in Everett. Grant expects to break ground on the 27,500-square-foot center in May and finish the project by July 2023.
The Greater Trinity Academy in Everett also received $1 million. The school, which enrolls children as young as 2½ years old, has programs for preschool, kindergarten readiness and advanced kindergarten.
Executive Director Paul A. Stoot Sr. said most of the students come from low-income households. The nonprofit school plans to double capacity, adding 75 openings to its early learning programs.
Greater Trinity Academy plans to construct a three-story building with an early learning center on the first floor. The second and third floors will have up to 35 apartments for low-income families, Stoot said. The early learning center will include a cafeteria, library and a performing arts classroom.
“Our primary focus is to see how we can contribute to these underprivileged homes and these BIPOC children, and give them a unique academic and living experience that they would not have gotten anywhere else in the world,” Stoot said.
Volunteers of America Western Washington received nearly $970,000. The nonprofit plans to build a Neighborhood Center in Lynnwood, with two Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program classrooms, known as ECEAP, for up to 60 pre-K students. VOAWW currently has 160 students in its Everett, Monroe and Sultan pre-Ks.
“Our Neighborhood Center will be a 40,000 sq/f community resource center and will provide valuable services for the residents of South Snohomish County,” Chief Operating Officer Brian Smith emailed The Herald. “We are continuing our fundraising campaign for this project and plan to start construction at the end of 2022 for a completion date in early 2024.”
Tiny Treasures Daycare received $625,000 to add 61 child care openings in Everett. Anandan Academy in Bothell received $500,000.
“I’m really thankful,” Anandan Academy Director Naina Narayan said. “I was kind of nervous, like, ‘How will I make this happen?’ but my dream is coming true.”
Narayan started the academy about five years ago. After working in child care, Narayan wanted to open an outdoor pre-K where children spent more time with nature. The grant enables Anandan Academy to more than double its current enrollment and eventually accept up to 25 children.
“We have a lot of dreams about this project,” Narayan said.
The Machinists Institute received money for minor renovations or pre-development, but it’s unclear where its early learning center would be located. The institute received a little under $200,000 for a location in King or Snohomish county, according to a list of grant recipients from the Department of Commerce.
Commerce and the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families awarded $43.2 million in grants across the state. The money went to 69 projects.
“This investment in facilities in our state will help communities ensure safe, secure and stable early learning opportunities are accessible for everyone,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown, according to the department’s news release. “This is critical for an equitable recovery for the state’s economy and families, and is vital to helping ensure that children succeed.”
Katie Hayes is a Report for America corps member and writes about issues that affect the working class for The Daily Herald.