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Head Start relocates to museum

Headstart educators Amy Leach and Sabrina Black go through hundreds of books during the move to the museum.
Photo Credit: Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

The Southern Ute Head Start building was closed down on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. as directed by the Southern Ute Tribal Council. Parents were directed to have their children picked up by that time and the Head Start Program would remain closed for the remainder of the week.

“I understand that this is an awful thing that can happen to parents, and we just want to make sure the kids are safe and we open back up as fast as we can.” SUCAPS Director, Eileen Wasserbach said.

The Head Start Program closed down three classrooms and the kitchen, in the process the entire Head Start program had to be shut down, with the hopes of being able to open back up later next week.

The three classrooms and kitchen that have been shutdown are now moved over to the Southern Ute Cultural Center, where Cultural Director Edward Box III has designated space for the Head Starts to use temporarily.

From the Southern Ute Executive Office

The building occupied by the SUCAP Head Start program was built in the late 1930’s by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and buildings from this era sometimes contain hazardous materials.

Recently, the Tribe contracted with an environmental consultant to conduct an assessment of the Head Start building. The Tribe received a final report identifying the presence of asbestos in the crawlspace of the Head Start building. After the Tribe received the report, it communicated the results of the assessment to SUCAP and began discussing a plan to vacate the building.

To eliminate any potential risk for asbestos exposure and completely ensure the safety of the building occupants, the Tribe determined that it was in the best interest of the occupants to immediately shut down the Head Start building.

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