Spokane’s East Central Community Center held a celebration Tuesday for several major projects that are underway.
They include expansion of the center itself, a new and larger facility for Community Colleges of Spokane’s Head Start program, and groundbreaking for a new CHAS dental clinic.
Freda Gandy, who directs the MLK Family Outreach Center, says the expansion will help provide early learning to more young students.
“We’re bringing high quality early learning programs to the central neighborhood with five additional classrooms of early learning programs, and I will have additional preschool classrooms here, so we’ll be serving 80 children here between 12 months and five years old, getting them ready for kindergarten," Gandy said.
The Spokane library branch at the community center is moving. Library executive director Andrew Chanse says a new branch will be going in at nearby Liberty Park to serve the same neighborhood.
“You’ll see a great expansion, over doubling the size of the current facility, really focusing on children and families, with an oversized kids area. We’ll have a huge programming space, much bigger than the one we have over there at the library, as well as quiet study rooms. When we went out into the community, we listened to what mattered,” he said.
Ground was also broken on a new dental clinic.
Aaron Wilson, the director of the Community Health Centers of Spokane, or CHAS, says there are many in the community who are unable to take advantage of dental benefits simply because they have no access to clinics.
“They’re having to get on a bus and go to a clinic, so this allows them to access dental services within the neighborhood. It’s also an opportunity partner with youth services. And we know of those who have an adult Medicaid dental benefit, only 25% are using that benefit,” he said.
Wilson says the new dental clinic should be open by next June, depending how the weather cooperates for the construction.