OLD LYCOMING TOWNSHIP -- The Head Start program in Lycoming and Clinton Counties is celebrating an expansion.
The program is in a new building, which directors say will improve services for students as well as taxpayers.
The little ones at STEP Head Start near Williamsport might not realize it, but they are the first children to play in a new place because half of Lycoming and Clinton County's Head Start classes moved to a new building.
James Plankenhorn is president of STEP which is a community action agency in Lycoming County. He tells Newswatch 16 that STEP bought this building near Williamsport, which is the former Round Hills Elementary School.
"It's providing a very good education experience for those kiddos," Plankenhorn said.
STEP is introducing the building to the community so taxpayers can see how it saves them money. This building consolidates three Head Start facilities. Instead of paying for three buildings, there is now only one mortgage.
"What we are going to be paying here with the mortgage, it's going to be saving the taxpayer a significant amount of money," Plankenhorn said.
This isn't only a place for children to learn. Penn State runs a program here to allow parents to expand their education.
Parents can study for their GEDs or prepare for college courses. Head Start provides several services to families, like early intervention and mental health.
"Historically, we were able to provide these services but we did it from an office building. So now we can provide those comprehensive services from one location STEP Head Start director David Spring said.
Students now travel a little farther to school since the consolidation closed some of the buildings. There are several buses to take the children back and forth.