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UDMO hopes to bring all early childhood/ Head Start children together at Roosevelt

May 25, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Jamey Whitney, executive director of Upper Des Moines Opportunity, said the organization has a goal of bringing all children ages zero to three together at the Roosevelt building. Whitney addressed the Emmet County Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting Tuesday morning.

A major barrier to doing this now is the need for a sprinkler system in the building. Whitney said there is also a need for bathroom renovations to make them accessible for toddlers. For health and safety, skimcoating the floors and covering the radiators will be necessary.

"We have a focus on Emmet County," Whitney said. Emmet County is UDMO's largest target area.

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"We have put a lot of money into the building and we are looking at adding more classrooms in the future," Whitney said.

Another barrier to moving children now attending class in the old McKinley building to the Roosevelt building is the old building to the south.

Whitney said with bricks falling off that building and asbestos in the building, it is safest to tear it down.

"I'm told there is grant money available for the demolition," Whitney said.

The grant money UDMO has received for Head Start/Early Head Start programs cannot be used for the demolition, Whitney said.

Supervisor Tim Schumacher said, "Let's make sure the other entities [City of Estherville and Estherville Lincoln Central School District] are also involved."

Chair Bev Juhl said, "You have the support of this board."

Whitney said he and Cindy Chicoine, Financial Director, will meet with the other entities and down the road make plans to meet as a group to decide next steps.



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