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INDIANAPOLIS — The Emmerich Manual High School campus is getting another addition as Christel House converts office space to make an early childhood education center.

On Tuesday, the United Way of Central Indiana announced a $1 million matching grant award for the project, which will serve 80 children from infancy to 5 years old.

“We know that high-quality early learning experiences help children unlock their lifelong learning potential,” said Maureen Weber, president and CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “We are anxious to help young children in this community build the foundational skills they need to thrive.”

The facility will be located on the Emmerich Manual High School campus, requiring extensive renovation to convert office space at Manual into rooms appropriate for infants, toddlers and pre-K students. Christel House says this project will cost $2 million. The matching grant will help make this project a reality.

“We know there is significant need for high-quality child care and preschool programs for south side families,” said Ann D. Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. “United Way is proud to help support the infrastructure needed to provide a safe and enriching environment for children at this critical stage in their development.”

So far, Christel House has invested $5.5 million to convert Emmerich Manual High School into a community-serving campus for traditional K-12 students and adults seeking a high school diploma.

“Quality early childhood education makes a positive impact on everything from children’s future learning to family self-sufficiency and breaking the cycle of poverty,” said Dr. Sarah Weimer, executive director, Christel House Indianapolis. “The new Day Early Learning at Manual center offers a crucial opportunity to ensure Indianapolis’ most vulnerable residents get a great start in life.”

The project is expected to be completed in June 2022.