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Hello everyone. We know it’s been a long time since we’ve had anything new to share, but we’ve been very busy behind the scenes with planning for the project and trying to secure grants for different aspects of it, and much of the Preliminary Architectural Review couldn’t be shared until the entire review was completed.  

Short story: we selected a site and developed a preliminary floor plan for the building designed to accommodate 98 children. You can see those pictures here. The next step is a capital campaign to find the funding for the project.

Long story: we selected six potential sites that were suitable and available. After carefully reviewing each site and consulting with SDI Architects + Design in Miles City and our childcare consultant Robert Siegel with Leadership Reigns, we settled on our top choice, which you can see in the pictures here, and got SDI to work on the Preliminary Architectural Review and design for the building.  If you can’t see the picture clearly, we’ll include some of the details so you can kind of get an idea of the vision for the project.

Unfortunately, a building of this size, to accommodate the number of children our previous studies indicate there is a need for, is obviously quite expensive, so our next step will be to begin a capital campaign to try and secure funding for the building. That can come from any number of areas including grants and private donations. We are considering the formation of a board, separate from EMEDA, as the fundraising arm of this project, so if you’re at all interested in being a part of that group, please let us know. You can call Vaughn at the SMART office at 406-778-2020, or email: smartdev@midrivers.com just so we can gauge interest.

Further, all of the data from the entire project so far is available at the SMART office if you’d like to see all of our prior studies, research, surveys, reviews of each of the potential sites, and the PAR itself for the project, including other options for building design.  

We know you all want this project done yesterday, and we absolutely do, too. There’s certainly been moments of frustration and everything was obviously slowed down by COVID issues, but we’re very excited about where we’re at right now.  Basically, we’re a fundraising campaign away from shovels in the ground. Depending on how that goes, there may need to be some design changes for a smaller facility if we can’t quite reach our goals. The plan we’re sharing in this post is certainly the Cadillac of potential options and may have to be scaled back, depending on available dollars and, obviously, public comment could alter some of the design plans also. But we’re very happy with this plan and think it will be an amazing and much needed addition to Fallon County and all of Southeast Montana.

Going forward, we’ll be able to keep you better up to date on the project here and, don’t forget, if you’d like to get involved in the process directly, just get ahold of Vaughn at the SMART office.

And if you happen to know any philanthropists out there with some money burning a hole in their pocket looking for a desperately needed project to support, send them our way!!

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