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USDA and Tribal College Partner to Break Ground on New Head Start Building

Samantha Evenson
Fort Totten
Release Date
Sep 23, 2014

USDA Rural Development along with Cankdeska Cikana Community College and the Spirit Lake Tribe will break ground today on a new Head Start facility.

We are proud to be a partner on this project as it is an investment in our children that will benefit our future,” said Schneider. “The new Head Start building will provide a safe and healthy environment for learning.”

Scattered across the tribal reservation, there are currently 11 Head Start classrooms housed in modular structures with only one kitchen delivering meals by bus. The system is inefficient and all locations are in need of great repair.

This project will bring the Head Start classrooms under one roof as the new building will be able to accommodate up to 175 children, ranging from infants to 6-year-olds. With 38,000-square-feet of space, there will be 14 classrooms, a kitchen, nurse’s headquarters, teacher’s lounge and a multi-purpose room. Additionally, a play area will be fenced in outside for the children.

Through the community facilities program, USDA will provide a $4.4 million loan leveraged with a Head Start grant to complete the project in early 2016. Cankdeska Cikana Community College will run the Head Start Program to provide comprehensive services in the areas of education, health, wellness and nutrition. The Spirit Lake Tribe contributed the land for the project, which will be centrally located on the reservation near the newly constructed Spirit Lake Emergency Management Services building.

In June, President Obama and the First Lady visited the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. During the annual Flag Day Celebration in Cannon Ball, the President spoke of the challenges facing tribal members, especially the youth, and spoke of efforts to improve the quality of life. This project aligns with the President’s plan and USDA’s StrikeForce initiative, which focuses on capacity building for Native American tribes.

The North Dakota 2.0 initiative, facilitated by USDA Rural Development, conducted 14 regional meetings to collect sentiments from participants on the future of North Dakota. Early childhood education and quality child care were overwhelmingly identified as a top priority for the state. Therefore, USDA has focused investments and resources in this area. Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $235 million in North Dakota tribal nations. For more information on USDA programs, please call (701) 530-2037 or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd.