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The Granite City Head Start center at 2413 Corporate Center Drive. Renovations to the heating and cooling systems at the centers is under way using a $200,000 grant from United States Steel Corp. and SunCoke Energy Inc.
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The Granite City Head Start centers at 1249 20th St. Renovations to the heating and cooling systems at the centers is under way using a $200,000 grant from United States Steel Corp. and SunCoke Energy Inc.
GRANITE CITY — Riverbend Head Start & Family Services was awarded $200,000 by the United States Steel Corp. and SunCoke Energy Inc.
Funds will be used for renovations at the two Granite City Head Start centers at 1249 20th St. and 2413 Corporate Center Drive.
Renovations will be conducted in two phases, the first of which is under way. Each of the centers will undergo high-efficiency upgrades to the heating, venting and cooling systems, including the replacement of eight furnaces and four outdoor condensing units. Work is taking place while Head Start students are on summer break. The first phase is projected for completion no later than Aug. 5 to ensure no classroom programs or activities are disrupted.
Remaining funds will later be applied to the replacement of doors and windows in each of the Granite City child development centers in the second phase of the renovation efforts.
U.S. Steel and SunCoke created an environmental trust in support of local efforts to promote better air quality and energy efficiency. By awarding this grant, the initiative will provide approximately 400 babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Granite City a cleaner and healthier environment to grow and learn.
“This grant will allow our agency the opportunity to operate higher-efficiency HVAC systems, which will improve indoor air quality while reducing our energy use and costs,” Riverbend Head Start & Family Services President and CEO Chuck Parr said. “Savings will be redirected to operations that focus on educating children and empowering families.”
In addition to building a healthier learning environment, the grant establishes an opportunity to educate children and their parents about the importance of air quality and energy efficiency. With childhood allergies and breathing conditions like asthma on the rise, it is increasingly important to talk to parents about ways to improve the environment in their homes.
Riverbend Head Start & Family Services and the Piasa Palisades Group of the Sierra Club, which strongly advocated for the agency during the grant approval process, are collaborating on plans for an educational workshop during the 2016-17 school year.
“I appreciate the good work Riverbend Head Start & Family Services does in our community,” Virginia Woulfe-Beile, Three Rivers project coordinator for the Piasa Palisades Group of the Sierra Club, said. “It was a pleasure to champion the agency’s grant proposal. I look forward to continuing our partnership and working with the Head Start students and their families this school year.”
Woulfe-Beile was part of a six-member committee that awarded the grant to Riverbend Head Start & Family Services. The others were Bryan Kresak, environmental director of Granite City Works; Jack Darin, director of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club; Joyce Blumenshine, conservation committee chairperson of the Illinois Chapter Sierra Club; and Kathy Andria, Mark Feldworth and Dale Wojtkowski of American Bottom Conservancy.
Riverbend Head Start & Family Services operates six centers in Madison County and serves 850 at-risk children, ages birth to 5. The mission is to empower those children and their families to develop positive skills to meet life’s challenges.
The organization is primarily funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additional community support is critical in achieving the goal of preparing impoverished children for success in kindergarten and throughout life.