Archive for Sunday, May 21, 2006

$80M campus would consolidate children’s agencies

May 21, 2006

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— Officials have announced plans for an $80 million project, nearly entirely focused on programs for children, to be built in Kansas City beginning this fall.

A public-private consortium unveiled the plans Friday. The downtown development would take up nearly four city blocks of housing agencies aimed at providing early childhood care and reaching out to disadvantaged children.

The project is being taken on by The Children's Campus of Kansas City, a nonprofit that has already launched a $19.9 million campaign to pay for the facilities. The agency hopes to pay for 20 percent of the project through a federal subsidy program.

Three main areas of the campus are planned: a three-story education center housing everything from Head Start programs to dental and health care offices; a new home for the Children's Museum of Kansas City in a former grocery store; and a 10-story office building seeking to attract new business to Wyandotte County.

The project could go forth without the office building if funding is not secured, backers said.

The Children's Campus already has secured some of the land needed for the project and BancMidwest announced Friday it would donate 50,000 square feet of real estate for the cause.

Construction is expected to begin by year's end.

The campus has been a dream of social service providers. For years, more than two dozen agencies have tried to come up with better ways to serve children. They toured agencies across the country and saw many housed together. They were disappointed, however, because few actually worked together.

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