In late July, ground was broken for a new UCAN Head Start Center that will serve children from throughout Douglas County. The 11,800 square-foot facility will feature seven classrooms, a family service room, a health screening room, and a natural play area. The building will be located adjacent to UCAN’s primary Douglas County service center and will be serviced by UCAN’s own fleet of UTrans buses. The location and access by public transit will make it much easier for families of young children and pregnant women served in Early Head Start/Head Start to obtain wrap-around services best meeting their needs. Up to 280 children can receive services on any given day at the new Center.
UCAN began raising funds for the Center in 2015. After The Ford Family Foundation generously offered to match local donations 3:1 for an amount of up to $1.25 million dollars, community donors and local foundations came together to provide more than the amount needed to raise Ford’s maximum grant amount. The Meyer Memorial Trust and The Collins Foundation provided additional, substantial grant funding. The City of Roseburg successfully obtained $1.5 million in CDBG funds from Oregon’s Infrastructure Finance Authority on behalf of the project and is working closely with UCAN to support development of the Center.
For decades, UCAN has had to move its classrooms from one leased location to another, each time causing great disruption to families and staff. Moves have been expensive, costing anywhere between $50,000 to $150,000. The new Center, which should be completed in Spring of 2019, will provide a permanent home for Head Start and Early Head Start services beginning in the Fall of 2019. Michael Fieldman, UCAN’s Executive Director, states: “Eventually, we want to make this an early childhood service center, as we have a variety of programs that serve early childhood families.” As he points out, families with young children will further benefit from having these programs provided on Roseburg’s nonprofit campus, which also houses the Family Development Center (a local relief nursery), the Umpqua Community Health Clinic, and the Fish Pantry.