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Flance Early Education Center breaks ground in St. Louis’ north side

March 1, 2013 | McCormack Baron Salazar

Urban Strategies, with the St. Louis Housing Authority, McCormack Baron Salazar, University City Children’s Center, and LUME Institute, will gather with residents and stakeholders of St. Louis City’s 5th Ward to break ground on an innovative community facility that will provide high quality early childhood education, training, and comprehensive family support.

Construction of the I. Jerome and Rosemary Flance Early Childhood Education Center at Murphy Park (The Flance Center) will officially begin on Friday, March 1 with a ceremonial groundbreaking event at the construction site.

Slated to open in early 2014, the Flance Center will bring a first-class resource to the community by providing a child-focused, center-based, economically-integrated facility intended to offer exceptional care and education for 154 children.  The nationally-acclaimed core curriculum developed by the University City Children’s Center (UCCC) and early education thought leader, LUME Institute (LUME), will focus on developing the emotional, social, cognitive and physical health of children from birth through age five.  In addition, LUME will deliver relevant, up-to-date professional training and education to current and future providers of childcare from the surrounding community.

Developed by McCormack Baron Salazar in partnership with the St. Louis Housing Authority and Urban Strategies, Inc., the $10.3 million Flance Center will be a 23,800 square foot LEED-certified facility. The Center, designed by Trivers Associates, will have 13 classrooms for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, including a 3-room health suite for onsite immunizations and health screenings.  Brinkmann Constructors and MBE/Section 3 firm Simms Building Group serve as the general contractors on the project.  Site work is already underway and construction is scheduled to take approximately ten months.

The Flance Center is a highly anticipated addition to a community that is already undergoing broad revitalization.  Located in the heart of the Murphy Park mixed-income community, the Center will be flanked by the Cahill House senior living facility, the arts-integrated Jefferson Elementary School, and the Grace Hill Murphy-O’Fallon Health Center, a federally qualified health center.

“This type of facility is a critical thread in the fabric of this community,” explains Sandra Moore, President of Urban Strategies. “The Flance Center completes the continuum for comprehensive support across generations in one community, providing a holistic pathway for families to achieve success where they live.”

The Flance Center, named for Dr. I. Jerome and Rosemary Flance, brings together a network of leaders in early childhood development and health, local community stakeholders, neighborhood leaders and residents who, facilitated by Urban Strategies, secured a financial investment of over $10 million for this north side community.  Sources of funding for the project include: $5 million from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities Program, $3 million in New Markets Tax Credit equity through Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, and the remainder from corporate and private donors.