By Brenda Maguire
NEW BRITAIN — The State Bond Commission approved a grant of $375,000 for the Human Resources Agency of New Britain, Inc., to finance renovations to the Ben Franklin Early Childcare Learning Academy at 180 Clinton St.
“We’re not just investing in building improvements, we are investing in improving the children who attend the Ben Franklin Academy and who will go on to become high school and college graduates and our next-generation work force,” said state Sen. Terry Gerratana, D-New Britain and co-chairwoman of both the Children’s and the Public Health Committees.
Work at the learning academy will include re-grading, resurfacing and drainage improvements to the parking lot and a canopy will be added to the pick-up/drop-off area to improve the exterior of the building.
Officials from the HRA were unavailable for comment Friday as the agency had a training day scheduled.
“These funds will provide for overdue improvements to HRA’s facilities and save this agency operating money that can be used to provide these much-needed services,” said state Rep. Timothy O’Brien, D-New Britain.
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning renovations will be done on the inside, as well as wiring improvements.
“Better facilities make for a better learning environment and better outcomes. It’s the most basic of investments we can make,” Gerratana said.
The academy falls under the Children and Families Division of the HRA. The Ben Franklin Childcare Academy is one of five locations of the Head Start/School Readiness program.
The program is for children aged 3 to 5. Head Start helps low-income families and School Readiness servicing all families with a sliding scale based on the family’s income.
Both programs are certified by The National Association for the Education of Young Children.
“The Human Resources Agency is vital to the New Britain community and the services provided by HRA lift the quality of life for our city’s residents and our community as a whole,” O’Brien said.
For more information on the Human Resources Agency, visit http://www.hranbct.org or call (860) 225-8601.