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On an 'angel' wait: Kaleidoscope hopes donor will appear

Theater groups sometimes look to an "angel" to help fund their productions. Kaleidoscope is still waiting for a local angel or two to fund early childhood education. Executive Director Barbara Werre said Friday that the Fargo-based progra...

Theater groups sometimes look to an "angel" to help fund their productions.

Kaleidoscope is still waiting for a local angel or two to fund early childhood education.

Executive Director Barbara Werre said Friday that the Fargo-based program is "still waiting to hear from donors that have expressed interest" in making the large donations needed to break a funding logjam.

In the meantime, the group has released an architect's drawing for the proposed "one-stop shopping" facility for preparing children from infants to age 6 for school.

The building would be located in the West Acres industrial park, just east of Banner Health between 42nd and 45th streets. The 8.8-acre irregularly shaped parcel provides access to 17th Avenue Southwest.

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The 52,000- to 55,000-square- foot building will cost about $7 million, said Kaleidoscope Executive Director Barbara Werre.

Werre said fund-raisers are working toward two interim goals. They first must raise $2 million locally. Once that plateau is reached, the group can tap out-of-state donors to reach $3.5 million.

The $3.5 million mark must be reached by mid-June to solidify support from major partners -- among them the Fargo and West Fargo school districts, which would have preschool special-needs programs at Kaleidoscope.

If that mark is reached, Werre said the group will have a couple of years to come up with the remaining $3.5 million.

Kaleidoscope's partners include: Fargo and West Fargo school districts, Child Care Resource and Referral, Southeast North Dakota Community Action Agency, Head Start, the Fargo Park District, Fargo-Cass Public Health, Women Infants and Children and the YMCA.

Werre said the Anne Carlsen Center for Children may put an outreach program in Kaleidoscope. The Fargo Public Library has also been invited to open a branch.

The Fargo Park District agreed last November to give Kaleidoscope its proposed site in exchange for building a gymnasium.

The land and the gym are valued equally at about $1 million. It's estimated 680 people a month would use the facility for Park District activities.

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The Rabanus Barn is currently incorporated into the plans for the building. A community hall and library are proposed for that space with rental space available on the second floor.

The gym and office space anchor the northernmost part of the facility.

Three wings pointing west from the spine of the main building house the preschool classrooms for Fargo and West Fargo. A wing angling to the east includes toddler and infant rooms.

Werre said the facility will feature a handicap accessible playground and physical therapy rooms for special needs children.

The program is designed to mix typically developing and special needs children. Research shows both groups benefit from the relationship, Werre said.

In addition, by bringing many support agencies under one roof, the program provides "one-stop shopping" for low-income families or families with special needs children to get the help they need, she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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