Childcare And Technical College To Get Warton Manor
City Commissioner Roger Reitz is getting his wish. Reitz has worked
for the past four or five years to get a government controlled child care
facility in Manhattan.
Tuesday night the Commissioner told the other Commissioners that he
had talked with Riley County Commission Chairman Russ Frey and
the County would turnover control of Wharton Manor to the Riley County Health Department to establish a Family and Child Resource
Center. Half of the building will go to the Manhattan Area Technical College.
Reitz told the Commission that the County would make the official announcement
in two months. The City Commissioners were told at the
Briefing Session in the back room of City Hall.
At the March 12th Riley County Commission meeting Susanne Kufahl, Riley
County-Manhattan Health Department, Assistant Administrator
ask the Commission for all of Wharton Manor so they could establish a "one-stop-shop" Family and Child Resource Center.
Kufahl told the Commission that in December of 2000, "we were awarded
a $290,614 Smart Start grant based upon this community planning
(including community match - $27,500 cash from the health department and space in Wharton Manor from the county). Smart Start is a large
grant opportunity - Kansas’ share is estimated at $1.77 billion, to be paid out annually for 25 years. This is the Kansas tobacco settlement
funds. Smart Start funds were $2.75 million for Kansas this year and Gov. Graves has requested $11.2 million for next year."
She said the Departments first choice is to lease the entire building and assume administrative control of the building.
Kufahl said that if they were to receive a part of the building they
would like to have the lower half to "better accommodate their childcare
She said "Our Smart Start project - the FCRC - includes goals matched to four basic needs identified by the community:
1) Child care - availability, affordability, and quality - a local survey was completed in 2000 which documented these needs
The FCRC will provide two infant/toddler classrooms, provide child care
free to those meeting qualifications, and provide child care provider
training and assistance
2) Transportation - parents needing resources for their children may face transportation problems. (See #3)
3) Communication barriers - programs serving children and families sometimes do not communicate well, due in part to a lack of proximity
The FCRC offers family service programs space for representation all
at one location, thus facilitating timely and convenient interaction and
saving parents the need to drive all over town.
4) Child development & parenting information through home visitation and other models.
The FCRC would house the growing Family Connections initiative which
provides these services through collaboration between the health
department, Head Start, Parents as Teachers, Infant Toddler Services and other programs."
Also on March 12th Duane Dunn, Manhattan Area Technical College told
the Commission that College turned away over four hundred
student applicants last year due to limited facilities.
Dunn said the Associate Degree Nursing program was located at the Cloud
County Community College facility in Geary County due to lack
of facilities. He said there is an interest in beginning a dental hygienist program at Manhattan Area Technical College. Their goal would be to
place the health-related program in the Wharton Manor facility.