FOLSOM - After almost four years, the Head Start program for children at Folsom Community Center has gotten a new start.
On Friday morning, former students, parents, new teachers and administrators gathered for a ribbon cutting at the newly renovated building. The North Randolph County Development Association owns the building and signed an agreement in 1991 with the Community Action Agency for the Head Start program. For over 25 years, hundreds of children walked the halls, enjoyed nutritious meals and played on the playgrounds. The agency operated the facility until the Community Development Institute took over the funding for the program.
On March 9, 2016, Mike Schmidt with the Community Development Institute stood outside the facility and told the Head Start staff the building was environmentally unsafe. "It was one of the most emotional days of my life because I knew what Head Start had done in this area and how many memories there were in the building," said Schmidt.
The building was closed on March 18. The Head Start program continued to teach children at Woodland Community Center. After many hours of planning and work with the development association and Cheaha Regional Head Start, which now runs the center, the center was completely renovated with new floor covering, paint on the walls, new classroom equipment and supplies, a new lunchroom, new playgrounds and new air and heat system. The estimated cost of the work was over a million dollars.
According to the Cheaha administration and the developments authority, Head Start has signed a rental agreement for 30 years. A new staff has been put in place and will begin teaching children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old again in just a few weeks as soon as an inspection is done by the state.
The administrator and center director will be Brandie Hill. Teachers and other staff will be Fredia Daniel, Yanira Moreno, Meagan Johnson, Jeannie Robertson, Tiffany Johnson and Courtney Culberson. Charlene White, manager of the program since it began in 1991, announced her retirement.
White had kept pictures of all the classes and newspaper clippings in notebooks for everyone to see.
It's a news start with a beautifully renovated building. Staff member invite parents to come by the center and see the work that was done.