By Oliver Lazenby
The 10,000-square-foot addition to the Blaine Primary School, which is now nearly complete, will allow space for an early learning program to return to Blaine.
The $4 million primary school addition added eight new rooms to the school’s original building, including classrooms and space for occupational therapy, life skills, Title 1 programs, and offices for adjunct staff such as the district’s speech therapist. It will free up space throughout the school district campus.
The main purpose of the addition is to accommodate state-mandated full-time kindergarten, but it will also allow the Opportunity Council’s Early Head Start program to return to Blaine.
The program serves three- to five-year-olds from low-income families and aims to develop kids socially and emotionally, according to its website. It looks at the whole child and aims to meet educational needs, develop gross- and fine-motor-skill development and facilitate social interaction.
The program also provides services for enrolled families, including health assessments, nutrition education, mental health services, social service referrals, home visits and family support services.
The program operated in a Blaine church until water damage forced it to move to Custer about five years ago.
Many kids in the program live in Blaine and the Opportunity Council has been looking for a chance to move the program back, said Kim Walbeck, Opportunity Council’s child services coordinator, at a school board meeting in May.
All that’s left for the primary school project, which started last fall, is finishing the new music room and enclosing the covered play area, district facilities supervisor Alan Pomeroy said.
Tiger Construction was the lead contractor on the primary school project and Bellingham-based Zervas Architects designed the project.