SPRINGFIELD — Springfield will be home to the 24th Educare early-education school to be built in the U.S., and the only one in Massachusetts, following a recent groundbreaking at 100 Hickory St., adjacent to Brookings School, on land provided by Springfield College.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito was joined by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; Educare officials; Janis Santos, executive director of Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start; local leaders in philanthropy and project funders; representatives of Springfield College and the Old Hill Neighborhood Council; elected officials; and other community members for the official groundbreaking of the nearly $14 million facility, which is expected to open in late 2019.
Educare offers an early-education model designed to help narrow the achievement gap for children living in poverty and represents a national collaboration between the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and hundreds of other public-private partners across America.
Funding for the project comes from a variety of local, state, and national sources, including the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation; the Gage Olmstead Fund and Albert Steiger Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; the MassMutual Foundation; Berkshire Bank; MassDevelopment; the MassWorks Infrastructure Program at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development; the Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Grant Fund through the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care in collaboration with the Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. and their affiliate, the Children’s Investment Fund; the George Kaiser Family Foundation; Florence Bank; Capital One Commercial Banking; and anonymous donors.
The Educare model incorporates embedded and ongoing professional development of teachers, intensive family engagement, and high-quality teaching practices, and utilizes data to advance outcomes for students in the program.
Educare Springfield will offer a full-day, full-year program for up to 141 children from birth to age 5, under licensure by the state Department of Early Education and Care. Educare Springfield will also serve as a resource in the early-education community for training and providing professional development for future teachers, social workers, evaluation, and research.
Educare Springfield will pursue opportunities for local partnerships and collaborations.
O’Connell Development Group is providing project management, and Western Builders is responsible for construction. The building was designed by RDg Planning & Design.