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$2M donation covers Olympic College's childcare center construction

A $2 million contribution from the Bremer Trust will cover half the cost of construction on a 10,000-square-foot childcare center on Olympic College’s Bremerton campus.

The state will match that amount, giving OC $4 million for the project.

“We couldn’t have had a better project than the one we’re celebrating today,” OC President David Mitchell said at a ceremony Wednesday to honor the Bremer Trust.

The Trust has given $1 million for the project and pledged another $1 million by 2009.

Mitchell called the project “huge” and said it will increase the number of children who can access on-campus childcare by nearly 30 percent.

“Olympic College is extremely thankful to the Bremer Trust for its investment in the college over the years,” he said. “They certainly want to know what the college wants.”

Construction on the Sophia Bremer Childcare Center will begin summer 2009, Mitchell said.

Bremer Trust trustees Betti Sheldon, Mike Connolly and John Mitchell attended the ceremony.

“It’s our sincere hope and belief that this project will meet that need for childcare,” Sheldon said. “It’s past important.”

The new center will accommodate 93 children — up from the current total of 66 — and allow childcare programs currently located across campus to move under the same roof.

Once the building is finished, fewer families looking for childcare will be turned away.

Those numbers range from two- to four-dozen per academic quarter, childcare director Rhodes Lockwood said.

The least enjoyable aspect of (my) job is to turn families away,” he said. “What the Bremer Trust has done is truly remarkable.”

Current student Amanda Watland, who uses OC’s childcare program, praised the childcare staff for providing her child with a safe environment.

“Leaving your child with a stranger is difficult,” she said. “These are passionate and wonderful people.”

The Bremer Trust has given OC nearly $6 million since the Trust’s inception in 1987. That money has gone toward scholarships, building projects and the advancement of faculty skills and expertise, according to a written statement from the school.

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