BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, PA, Jul 30, 2014 -- Contact: Dawn Bonsell: (717) 237-2286
USDA and Bear Creek Community Charter School
at Ten Mile Run Break Ground for New School
BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, Pa. – July 30, 2014 – As students across the nation prepare to head back to school, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Thomas Williams today broke ground for a new public charter school building in Bear Creek Township funded in part through the USDA’s Community Facilities loan program.
"This project provides a significant benefit to rural Luzerne County,” Williams said. “The school is providing innovative educational opportunities for young families.”
Bear Creek Community Charter School currently operates out of a group of small, outdated school buildings located along a highway. The existing facility was intended for an enrollment of 240, but it now has an enrollment of over 400 with a waiting list of over 100. The $12, 834,000 in USDA Community Facilities program funds will be leveraged with $15, 403,456 in borrower contributions to construct the 63,000 sq. ft. building.
The new school will meet the demand for enhanced educational opportunities, including environmental education. Located on a 97-acre wooded tract, the school will provide hands-on environmental learning opportunities, field work, and school-wide environmental leadership opportunities. Plans for the school grounds include an outdoor classroom, interpretive trail, rain gardens, educational stations, and soccer and softball fields. Construction is expected to be completed by the summer of 2015.
USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program helps finance essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. Through this program, USDA ensures that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies and non-profit organizations.
"During the last fiscal year, our staff provided more than $100 million to essential community projects,” Williams said. “Providing the funding for new buildings, vehicles, communications and public safety equipment shows we are committed to helping these communities with the funds they need to upgrade or maintain essential services."
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
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