FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heritage University dedicates new Early Learning Center
Toppenish, Wash. – On Friday, December 16, 2022, Heritage University held a building dedication for the new Heritage University Early Learning Center (ELC) at its Toppenish campus. Around 50 people attended the dedication for the new $4.1 million state-of-the-art facility. Arlen Washines, deputy director of the Yakama Nation Department of Human Services and HU board member and Dr. Kathleen Ross, founding president of Heritage University, each offered a blessing of the building.
Construction began in earnest on the new five-classroom ELC in March of this year by Chervenell Construction, and the work was largely completed by November. Graham Baba Architects of Seattle designed the new facility. While Graham Baba co-founder and co-owner Brett Baba is now based in western Washington, he enjoys working on projects in the Yakima Valley, the region he grew up in. “Over the course of my 44 years as an architect, I can’t think of a better feel-good project to be involved with than Heritage University’s Early Learning Center. The ELC provides a way for student-parents who may not otherwise be able to attend Heritage University, to do so. It continues the legacy of the Plath family (through the Manzana Foundation) to give a boost to kids when they are at an age that is so critical; an age Cliff Plath stated to be ‘the most formative’”, said Baba. “Heritage University is known for giving first-generation college students a path to success, and the Manzana Foundation is committed to providing a jump-start for kids at the most opportune time. The teaming of these two institutions is a phenomenal opportunity. We are humbled and honored to be a part of it.”
The majority of funding for the new ELC was provided by the Manzana Foundation and the Plath Family Charitable Trust. The ELC project also received a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce.
The ELC is scheduled to open in January and will serve children between the ages of 12 months and kindergarten, providing pre-kindergarten learning known to be invaluable in later years of scholastic achievement. This new facility will allow the ELC to increase its licensed enrollment from 74 to 90 students. To watch a time-lapse video of the construction, please visit this link on the Heritage University website: https://www.heritage.edu/eagle-cam/
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