Paso Robles youngsters will get an academic and social boost with the opening of San Luis Obispo County’s new First 5 Early Education Center on the city’s west side.
The $1.3 million campus, which opened Friday, will serve families who live near Georgia Brown Elementary School at 36th and Oak streets.
The center, across the street from the school, has two playgrounds and four buildings to serve children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.
The First 5 California is a statewide program created by Proposition 10, a 1998 voter initiative funded by adding a 50-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes sold in the state.
While its primary goal is to improve the ability of families, schools and communities to prepare children for school, it also helps with health services and child care.
The Paso Robles location is geared toward the Georgia Brown area because it’s home to one of county’s highest density of young, low-income families, officials said.
The project “has brought together multiple agencies with one, common goal of improving the lives of children and families ” said Susan Hughes, executive director of the county’s First 5 division.
The county Office of Education, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles Redevelopment Agency worked with First 5 in creating the campus. Donors also contributed funding.
“Each entity has contributed time and resources to make (this) a reality. Without those collaborative, contributing efforts, it could not have happened,” Hughes said.
The First 5 preschool currently operating on the grounds of Georgia Brown will transition to the new site and open on Oct. 3, she said.
The Paso Robles Library Study Center, run through the city, also moved to the new campus on a $1 per year lease. It left its longtime home at the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation on Spring Street.
Combining the locations will bring together a preschool, family support and city library services, organizers said.
The city shares its buildings’ utility and maintenance costs under the lease and will still save Paso Robles about $20,000, according to city staff.
The study center is open to all ages. Its emphasis is on preschool and elementary school children to help with homework and reports; and offer reference collections, computers with the Internet, books and a reader program.
Features of the First 5 Early Education Center
One building for the infant and toddler Early Head Start program;
One First 5 preschool;
One office for a school readiness coordinator and family advocate for aid referrals;
The Paso Robles Library Study Center, open to all ages.
To learn more
To inquire about the First 5 program, call Site Coordinator Marilu Gomez at 237-3387 or visit first5slo.org.
For the Paso Robles Library Study Center, call 237-4743 or visit www.prcity.org/library.