BARSTOW Parents may soon have more options within the city for the education and care of their little ones.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved a conditional use permit on Monday night that will allow for construction to begin on Greater Hope Prep School, which will be a preschool and day care facility for newborns to 5-year-olds.

Helena Smith, executive director of Greater Hope Foundation, said that construction can begin on the project as early as one month from the time the appeal period is over.

Construction should take about six months and the facility should open sometime next year.

The preschool will be built at 1121 West Main Street in a highway commercial and mixed land use district, which was why it needed approval for a conditional use permit. The facility will be about 3,500 square-feet.

The Greater Hope Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on connecting children with foster parents. Both Smith and her mother, Eva Ford, will be funding the construction of the preschool, which will be a for-profit organization.

The facility will be open to families who are participating in Calworks or other childcare programs funded by the federal government, as well as parents who pay privately, said Smith.

About 20 families have already expressed interest in the preschool and are on the waiting list. Smith said that she has already had people inquiring about employment at the preschool as well.

Greater Hope Prep School will be able to provide daycare and education to about 70 children and will be mainly focused on education. The preschool will offer language programs as well as preschool curriculum and after-school tutoring for older children.

Smith said that the preschool will have many of the same goals as the Greater Hope Foundation.

"We want to have the children grow up with us and keep that same family philosophy," said Smith.

For more information on the preschool or to enroll, visit www.greaterhopeprep.com or call (760) 256-3005.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4122 or kjonas@desertdispatch.com