Work has begun on the property at the southeast corner of Ferndale Terrace and Legoe Avenue to convert the residence and outside building for use as a children’s center, a backyard park and office space.
Whatcom Center for Early Learning (WCEL) recently purchased the property and is now doing landscaping and remodeling to make it their 2nd campus for providing services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays in Whatcom County. The 1st campus is located in Bellingham.
WCEL officials say they are currently serving 225 children and their families per month, a 250% increase since 2013, and needed to find a way to expand. According to a WCEL press release,
Guided by feedback from the families served, as well as WCEL board, staff and key stakeholders, we determined that having a “homey” feel to our locations is a top priority. Being in a home helps put both children and parents at ease versus the unavoidably more sterile and unfamiliar environment of a clinical setting. By purchasing and remodeling a residence in Ferndale, instead of buying a larger commercial property in downtown Bellingham, WCEL saved over 1 million dollars and, more importantly, will be better equipped to serve families and children.
This new location, when completely remodeled, will have a 3,200+ sq. ft. office building for Whatcom Center’s therapists and administration as well as a separate 1,500 sq. ft. Children’s Center that will house our classroom programs. When completed, the Children’s Center and backyard park, specifically designed to accommodate infants and toddlers with delays and disabilities, will be the largest of its kind in the region.
WCEL officials say they have been awarded numerous grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 and community members have hosted private fundraisers in their homes to cover the expected costs for the Ferndale campus. As a result, about 80% of the total projected cost has been covered.
The plan is to open the Ferndale campus this fall and hold a ribbon cutting and open house at that time.
Started by Public Health Nurse Anne Brown in the late 1960s, WCEL provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers from birth to 3-years-old with developmental delays and disabilities.