CENTRALIA – Ground was turned for the first time Tuesday on North Pearl in downtown Centralia for the eventual construction of the new United Early Learning Center. A collaboration between the United Way of Lewis County, Lewis County Boys and Girls Club and Discover Children’s Museum. United Way Director Debbie Campbell said at the Tuesday ground breaking event that the facility is an effort “trying to work around getting 30% out of poverty by 2030. How do we get to the root cause of lifting families out of poverty, and the key is early education.” Situated on city owned property on North Pearl Street between Maple and Center Streets, the project was born with state construction monies first proposed by then State Representative Richard DeBolt. “There’s a lot of people that have been involved in this project, helping people find their way out of poverty and the board (United Way of Lewis County) grabbed and took hold of the vision, and as you see today, it’s going to be real”, said DeBolt. Centralia Mayor Sue Luond says, “The Early Learning Center, Discover Museum and the Boys and Girls Club will make a great addition to the downtown section of the city of Centralia. We are very excited to see the finished product which will be beautifully constructed and see the building filled with children.” So far the project has gained $4 million dollars in support from the State Department of Commerce. Tuesday the TransAlta Coal Transition Board offered a grant of $1 million for the project. Project Manager Todd Chaput says once the architectural design of the facility is complete, construction will begin.

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