The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 28, 2012

New home: Head Start moving to Booker T. Washington, two other sites

ENID — As the start of school fast approaches, classrooms for Head Start students are being readied in Booker T. Washington Community Center and Westside Church of God in Christ.

Those locations, as well as Carver Educational Center, will host Opportunities Inc.’s Head Start program in Enid.

After operating more than 20 years in the former Wilson Elementary School building, 740 N. 10th, Head Start had to find a new home for four classrooms of students, after the Wilson building was deeded to the city as part of a three-part land trade that gave Enid Public Schools sufficient space to build the new Garfield Elementary School.

The city deeded over Gore Park, where it had a neighborhood splash park, and took ownership of the Wilson property in return. EPS also was given possession of the former Oklahoma National Guard Armory at the location where Garfield now stands.

“We got everything out of the building,” said Carol Ramer, executive director for Opportunities Inc. “They’d given us a deadline of June 30, but we moved a lot of it into the gym next door. We are in the process of moving two classrooms into Booker T. Washington Center.”

In addition, Westside Church of God in Christ has agreed to provide two classrooms for Head Start.

“That moves our four from Wilson,” Ramer said.

Classes are expected to begin Aug. 22, unless some last-minute delays arise, Ramer said.

Work on the splash park at the former Wilson building was begun before school let out in the spring, and the new splash park opened July 4.

An asbestos abatement contractor is working in the building to remove asbestos before demolition begins, said Becky Hodgen, director of marketing and public relations for the city of Enid.

“Demolition is scheduled for sometime next month,” Hodgen said.

Ramer said all Head Start slots are spoken for at this time, but applications continue to be taken in case families move away. Head Start likes to have a waiting list, Ramer said.

Head Start is a free program for children ages 3 and 4, whose families meet the federal income guidelines and children with disabilities, including those with severe disabilities.

All applications are reviewed by a screening committee using the criteria for enrollment to determine those children to be enrolled.

Head Start classes are held for 41⁄2 hours, five mornings per week during the school year. For those selected for enrollment, parents must bring the child’s immunization record. For more information on the Head Start program, call Opportunities Inc. at (580) 623-7283.

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