Seeking to broaden its scope of children and parents served, the Wild Lilac Child Development community is seeking to expand and relocate into Foster-Powell. After a successful run in the Richmond neighborhood, Wild Lilac is growing out of its inner-SE digs and is currently in lease negotiations for the PHC Northwest building on SE 74th and Center Street. If Wild Lilac can secure a lease with PHC, they’ll look to move their pre-K program into the building as early as September of this year.
For a little background, PHC itself had plans last year to start a charter school at the site. Plans apparently fell through, however, and Wild Lilac has been eyeing the spot since. As Katie Statman-Weil says, “We’ve been looking to move into the Fo-Po neighborhood for a while now…we are very excited to be potentially joining your neighborhood soon.” Statman-Weil and her coworker from Wild Lilac, Helene Hanson, presented their plans to the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Assocation at February’s meeting. Wild Lilac’s program currently serves 32 children, but their relocation into FoPo would allow them to expand to 42. Plans also call for further expansion in 2014, when they’d apply for charter status and add a blended kindergarten/first grade classroom. If their K-8 charter status is approved—the school would be dubbed The Community School—they anticipate adding an additional class each subsequent year.
The mission of Wild Lilac Child Development Community is to “offer high quality, inclusive, culturally responsive, and accessible early childhood education and comprehensive family support to the Southeast Portland community.” Wild Lilac sees its potential move into FoPo as a way to be “more easily accessible to families of diverse incomes and backgrounds.” And with some of their past and current families already living in Foster-Powell, they see this part of Southeast as a natural fit.
While the pre-K program is more imminent (assuming a lease can be negotiated), Wild Lilac is still seeking feedback on its plans for the Community School. To share your thoughts on the charter school project, you can access an online survey here. And if you find yourself interested in being part of the community, you can fill out a student interest form here.
We’ll keep you posted on further developments as we hear more.