Center for Excellence

The AWARE Center for Excellence Phase I school opened for students on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2014. The project is the first development in the Anaconda-Deer Lodge County East Yards subdivision. AWARE and Anaconda-Deer Lodge County are cooperating in sharing the infrastructure costs of the build-out of the new Polk Street with sidewalks and street lighting to help create a welcoming new community Gateway to Anaconda.

KXLF TV reporter Jamie Leary interviews Celina Cole at the Center for Excellence on the first day of school, Sept. 4. A reporter from ABC-Fox TV in Butte also did a story on the Center’s opening day. Photo by Jim Tracy

KXLF TV reporter Jamie Leary interviews Celina
Cole at the Center for Excellence on the first day of school, Sept. 4. A reporter from ABC-Fox TV in Butte also did a story on the Center’s opening day.

This specialized school is part of AWARE’s services that have historically been provided on the old Galen campus, and moved to Anaconda in 2012. These intensive community-based services support Montana children and youth with complex needs related to disabilities to be successful living in the community. These AWARE specialized services help respond to the individualized needs of each child, and provide an opportunity to stay at home in Montana near their home communities and families. The high school quality environment will be complementary to our effective, innovative, best practices, research based support services.

The Center for Excellence School is designed to provide a great boost to our students educational and career training goals. The new school is an especially welcoming environment full of natural light and soothing, calming colors, creating an attractive school setting.

Students, teachers, and staff will have access to innovative technology to bolster their educational and other needs, including Smart Boards, iPads, and laptops with access to state of the art learning software. Students have their own lockers, cafeteria, indoor basketball and play area, and other regular school features. The school is furnished with tastefully designed, attractive, and sturdy desks and other furniture.

The building exterior provides a new dramatic landmark for Anaconda’s entry way-with rich architectural stonework, and tasteful color finishes. The school tower and kite like roof lines will help keep our students, staff, and the Anaconda community aspirations reaching for the sky.

The project includes landscaped grounds with a picnic shelter, gardens, and a variety of areas to help kids be physically active and healthy. The activity areas include a basket ball court and other sports court, swing sets and tether ball play area, and a full-size sports and activity field. The project site will connect to future other community development and walk ways so that the AWARE project amenities can be enjoyed by the whole community and help foster the growth of the East Yards Master Plan.

AWARE is especially grateful for the community support for its efforts, particularly its development partnership with ADLC. The project financing through the USDA Rural Development community facilities program and Glacier Bank, and the generous foundation support from the Treacy Foundation of Helena, and the corporate support of ARCO/BP have all contributed to making our new school facility truly a Center for Excellence.

As expected AWARE’s lead development is now fostering other development interest in the East Yards subdivision to the benefit to the Anaconda community.

The AWARE Center for Phase I is part of a multi-stage master plan development for the East Yards property that includes plans for an outpatient services, and vocational and career training center to the north. AWARE envisions fostering interest in building a new community gymnasium and recreational center on the south end of their property as well as part of the AWARE master development plan.