Lowell School - Westside Park Neighborhood Center

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Project Description

Since the fall of 2019, Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) through Lowell Elementary, and the City of Missoula through Parks and Recreation (MP&R), have been working closely with community partners to create a community-based school and neighborhood center.

A school/neighborhood center is a community hub that supports student success while at the same time investing in the overall health and vitality of the neighborhood. The City and its partners would work to develop programming including:

  • Afterschool activities.
  • Extended learning opportunities for all ages.
  • Family and community engagement.
  • A variety of social services.

The program builds partnerships with organizations, businesses, and community members serving diverse populations with the outcome of providing wrap-around services to support families impacted most by social and economic inequities.

Given the neighborhoods' academic, health, and economic challenges, plus the area's anticipated growth, the Neighborhood Center is a unique opportunity for the City, MCPS, and their partners to work together to provide fully accessible robust programming and services.

While community-based school/neighborhood community centers are unique to Missoula, the concept is not new to much of the U.S. and even other countries. When governments, non-profits, and citizens pool their resources and skills, we find fresh, innovative, and sustainable paths toward the successful use of shared resources.

Investing in equity supports our entire community's overall vitality and success by solving challenges that may be too large for any one person or entity.

Benefits

  • Provides equitable and barrier-free access to programs and resources, with priority for Northside/Westside residents.
  • Programs and services consider a range of needs across the lifespan including developmentally appropriate programs and services for 0-5, out-of-school opportunities for school-age children, and recreational social/learning opportunities for all ages.
  • Uses a multi-agency, collective impact approach to leverage public and community resources in innovative ways to make sustainable, large-scale community change.
  • Mindful planning of physical indoor and outdoor space supports a sense of belonging within the neighborhood.
  • The center improves our community’s holistic health by including access to nutritious foods and safe spaces to play and gather.
  • Creates opportunities for safe, supportive, unstructured play for youth and adults, as well as events and gatherings for families.
  • In addition to providing services and programs, the community center will serve as a neighborhood hub, fostering connection, pride, and trust.

Opportunities for public comment

The project partners recognize that people of diverse backgrounds and identities may have unique needs and barriers, and are designing programming to enhance the individual's lifelong overall physical, emotional, and mental health.

The new Center will offer the activities, classes, and services that residents want. Please take this brief survey to let us know the types of programs you'd like to see in your Neighborhood Center. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete, and participants may enter a drawing to win a $25 gas card. The last day to complete this survey is Saturday, February 28.

Current Neighborhood Center programming

Expected timeframe

As stated above, programming has already begun. Missoula Parks and Recreation and Lowell Elementary have convened a Neighborhood Center Working Group, including representatives from the neighborhood and partner agencies. The Working Group expects to add new programs and services on an on-going basis throughout 2021 and beyond.

Project costs and funding

The overall project cost is difficult to forecast, as services will be provided by a variety of local agencies. The City of Missoula has allocated $91,652 to provide out-of-school-time recreation services and facilitate the planning and implementation of additional Neighborhood Center programming.

Project Partners

  • Missoula County Public Schools
  • Missoula Parks and Recreation
  • Lowell Elementary School PTA
  • North Missoula Community Development Corporation
  • Missoula Food Bank & Community Center
  • Partnership Health Center
  • Missoula City-County Health Department, 5-2-1-0 Let's Move! Missoula
  • United Way of Missoula County
  • Zero to Five Missoula County
  • Garden City Harvest
  • Western Montana Flagship Program/Western Montana Mental Health Center
  • Missoula County Public Library
  • UM Center for Children, Families and Workforce Development

Project Description

Since the fall of 2019, Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) through Lowell Elementary, and the City of Missoula through Parks and Recreation (MP&R), have been working closely with community partners to create a community-based school and neighborhood center.

A school/neighborhood center is a community hub that supports student success while at the same time investing in the overall health and vitality of the neighborhood. The City and its partners would work to develop programming including:

  • Afterschool activities.
  • Extended learning opportunities for all ages.
  • Family and community engagement.
  • A variety of social services.

The program builds partnerships with organizations, businesses, and community members serving diverse populations with the outcome of providing wrap-around services to support families impacted most by social and economic inequities.

Given the neighborhoods' academic, health, and economic challenges, plus the area's anticipated growth, the Neighborhood Center is a unique opportunity for the City, MCPS, and their partners to work together to provide fully accessible robust programming and services.

While community-based school/neighborhood community centers are unique to Missoula, the concept is not new to much of the U.S. and even other countries. When governments, non-profits, and citizens pool their resources and skills, we find fresh, innovative, and sustainable paths toward the successful use of shared resources.

Investing in equity supports our entire community's overall vitality and success by solving challenges that may be too large for any one person or entity.

Benefits

  • Provides equitable and barrier-free access to programs and resources, with priority for Northside/Westside residents.
  • Programs and services consider a range of needs across the lifespan including developmentally appropriate programs and services for 0-5, out-of-school opportunities for school-age children, and recreational social/learning opportunities for all ages.
  • Uses a multi-agency, collective impact approach to leverage public and community resources in innovative ways to make sustainable, large-scale community change.
  • Mindful planning of physical indoor and outdoor space supports a sense of belonging within the neighborhood.
  • The center improves our community’s holistic health by including access to nutritious foods and safe spaces to play and gather.
  • Creates opportunities for safe, supportive, unstructured play for youth and adults, as well as events and gatherings for families.
  • In addition to providing services and programs, the community center will serve as a neighborhood hub, fostering connection, pride, and trust.

Opportunities for public comment

The project partners recognize that people of diverse backgrounds and identities may have unique needs and barriers, and are designing programming to enhance the individual's lifelong overall physical, emotional, and mental health.

The new Center will offer the activities, classes, and services that residents want. Please take this brief survey to let us know the types of programs you'd like to see in your Neighborhood Center. The survey should take about 10-15 minutes to complete, and participants may enter a drawing to win a $25 gas card. The last day to complete this survey is Saturday, February 28.

Current Neighborhood Center programming

Expected timeframe

As stated above, programming has already begun. Missoula Parks and Recreation and Lowell Elementary have convened a Neighborhood Center Working Group, including representatives from the neighborhood and partner agencies. The Working Group expects to add new programs and services on an on-going basis throughout 2021 and beyond.

Project costs and funding

The overall project cost is difficult to forecast, as services will be provided by a variety of local agencies. The City of Missoula has allocated $91,652 to provide out-of-school-time recreation services and facilitate the planning and implementation of additional Neighborhood Center programming.

Project Partners

  • Missoula County Public Schools
  • Missoula Parks and Recreation
  • Lowell Elementary School PTA
  • North Missoula Community Development Corporation
  • Missoula Food Bank & Community Center
  • Partnership Health Center
  • Missoula City-County Health Department, 5-2-1-0 Let's Move! Missoula
  • United Way of Missoula County
  • Zero to Five Missoula County
  • Garden City Harvest
  • Western Montana Flagship Program/Western Montana Mental Health Center
  • Missoula County Public Library
  • UM Center for Children, Families and Workforce Development