VANCOUVER  – WSU  Vancouver will host a groundbreaking event at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, to celebrate the generous gift of $1.5 million from the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation for the expansion of the WSU Vancouver Child Development Program,  allowing the creation of a full-day kindergarten scheduled to open in fall 2010.

The ceremony will take place near the Human Development building, soon to be renamed the McClaskey Building. WSU Vancouver Chancellor Hal Dengerink will give opening remarks followed by members of the Foundation Board. The children in the program will also be participating in the actual ground breaking.

“We want to thank the board for making their first signature gift to WSU Vancouver. The late Tod and Maxine had a passion for education, this community, and quality,” said Dengerink. “This gift will expand our reach greatly, and positions our early learning professionals to be an even greater resource to this community. This gift is truly helping to educate this community by beginning with our youngest citizens.”

Funding from the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation will be used for a variety of start-up costs including remodeling of the interior classrooms, technology upgrades, curriculum development, community engagement and staff salaries. Construction on the expansion is slated to begin spring 2009 by Berrentine, Bates & Lee Architects.

“Private philanthropy is critical to WSU Vancouver, and we are extremely honored that the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation have invested in the future of our community by contributing to the early learning program initiative,” said Jennifer Crooks, director of Development. “This gift will allow us to seek additional funders to complete the full expansion.”

The public is invited to the celebration, though RSVP is required to events@vancouver.wsu.edu or 360-546-9600.