Ontario — In an effort to create new educational and recreational opportunities for both youth and adults in Ontario, the Four Rivers Community School is moving forward with plans for a 10,500-square-foot family education center that will house a gymnasium, stage, classroom and nonprofit offices.
“Through our higher education partnerships with Eastern Oregon University and Treasure Valley Community College we can offer additional opportunities for adult education in our community,” said FRCS executive director Chelle Robins. “We are also excited about office space for emerging non-profits, and recreational opportunities.”
According to Robins, FRCS has been saving for 10 years to fund the building. That money, coupled with grants and community donations, will fund the center. Bidding for contractors began in late September and closes today. FRCS’s board expects to choose a contractor and break ground by November.
FRCS opened in 2003, offering kindergarten and first grade classes. After 10 years in operation, it offers kindergarten through eighth grade and currently educates 250 students. It offers a dual-language immersion program that teaches in English one week and in Spanish the next, resulting in eighth grade graduates who are “bi-literate,” according to the school — they read, write and speak in both languages.
The school also places a strong emphasis on family education, Robins said, and is looking forward to the opportunities the family education center will provide for adult classes, including ESL, parenting, exercise and dance courses. It will provide meeting spaces, allow for more after-school programs, and provide indoor play space during winter months, Robins added.
Due to new legislation that would have required FRCS to follow public contracting laws even though it is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the school has moved forward with its plans more quickly than it originally anticipated. By breaking ground before the start of the new year, Robins said, FRCS will keep from incurring a 30 percent increase in the total cost of the project. Funding the building is coming along, she said, after FRCS received a site visit from the Ford Family Foundation, which is considering the school for a $100,000 grant.
“As we work toward raising funds for the Family Education Center, we are truly humbled and grateful to local businesses, community members and families for their generosity,” Robins said.
What you can do
If you are interested in donating to the project or would like more information, call the school at (541) 889-3715 or visit www.4riverscs.org.