“USDA funding helps meet a sixteen year dream for this school,” said Brunner. “USDA Rural Development focuses on helping communities develop the best facilities possible for things like education, child care and libraries. Those facilities help improve the quality of life in our rural communities and provide New Mexico children with better opportunities.”
Brunner presented a $240,000 certificate of obligation to allow AppleTree Education Center to purchase the facility it currently leases. By buying the building AppleTree will now be able to keep its national STAR 5 level of accreditation. Also, the purchase will allow the school to add another eight thousand square feet of classroom space. By doing so the school will be able to expand its services and retain is current enrollment without displacing some of the students.
AppleTree Educational Center opened in 1999 to provide a full day year round licensed center serving children from six weeks through twelve years old. Since that time this is the only licensed center in Sierra County that provides childcare and educational services.
Since opening AppleTree has expanded its services to provide the residents of Sierra County a summer food program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Head Start services, an Infant/Toddler Programs, AmeriCorps, and Workforce Investment projects. AppleTree is also home to Little Things Matter, a CYFD standards based home visiting program, offers New Mexico Pre-K, including the full day pilot for three and four year olds.
This is AppleTree’s second USDA Rural Development loan. The first was the conversion of an outdated kitchen to a fully commercial facility. As a result AppleTree serves over 4,000 free USDA meals per month and provides free lunch, dinner and snack to residents of Sierra County throughout the summer.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.