Children’s Friend at Althea Street

Providence, Rhode Island

The former Althea Street School and Asa Messer Annex, closed in 2012, was a dilapidated, unsafe eyesore in the West End of Providence. With a need to expand their services and a willing partner in the City of Providence who shared a vision for increasing access to quality early education programming, Children’s Friend took on the challenge to renovate and transform the building into a center of excellence housing Head Start, child care and pre-kindergarten programs. The costly project was made feasible by an array of funds, including a $4.3M federal Head Start grant, small donations and grants and private funding, all while navigating the unique challenges a historic building presents.

Year Completed2019
Construction TypeAdaptive reuse of existing vacant,
masonry building with historic
Development Cost
Sources of
Funds/Capital Stack
Small Grants
Federal Head Start Grants
Private Funding
Square Footage21,380 SF
# of Children126
# of Classrooms7 preschool classrooms serving 3,
4 and 5 year olds
Construction Cost/Child$54,761/child
Construction Cost/SF$322/SF
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