Astoria School District (ASD), in partnership with Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH), is working to find solutions for child care issues in our community as the COVID pandemic continues. Both organizations, along with many others, are concerned about their employees’ families and safe child care. As a result, ASD and CMH will assist in the relocation of the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department’s (APRD) Lil’ Sprouts program from its current home at the Gray School building to the Astoria Recreation Center (ARC), located at 1555 W. Marine Drive.
This move is an exciting step forward for the City’s child care program. Increased classroom space at the ARC will lead to a greater post-COVID enrollment capacity and the ability to better customize areas for small-child care, and it will provide extra instructional areas for ASD as they cope with the extraordinary changes to the upcoming academic year brought on by COVID 19.
APRD has long considered moving Lil’ Sprouts to a facility more suited for this type of program. The benefits of the City having complete ownership over this program and facility allows for greater ease in making layout changes or adding future amenities that require capital investment. By freeing classroom spaces currently leased at Gray, ASD can spread its programmatic and operational infrastructure to best provide educational resources this fall. The School District will be considering ways they can utilize the additional classroom spaces vacated by Lil’ Sprouts at Gray for childcare resources for their staff members in order to ensure that educators can focus on instructional duties without worrying about care for their own children. ASD and the City will continue to collaborate in their shared effort to provide opportunities for youth development in our community though child care, activities and sports programs.
CMH has been involved in the Lil’ Sprouts program since assisting in funding its start-up in 2010. The hospital wants to see the program thrive and has generously provided $10,000 to offset portions of the construction costs. These updates are required to build out the ARC into useable classroom spaces. CMH recognizes the value of child care services and is aware that many of its critical staff members rely on these programs to be able to continue their important work providing health care to the community. Grants to assist with funding are also being sought from Pacific Power’s Community Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation and Craft3.
To best coincide with the commencement of the academic year, Lil’ Sprouts will transition between the two locations in mid-September. There will be a short disruption to care services that will occur the week of 9/7-11 while the facility’s infrastructure is moved to its new home at the ARC.###