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Addition nearly complete at Little River School; open house Thursday

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CANTON - Construction of the new two-story addition at Little River Community School is nearing completion and should be ready to house students returning in September to start a new school year.

An open house is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Little River, a K-12 alternative school perched on a hilltop next to Birdsfoot Farm, County Route 25. Child care and refreshments will be available.

Director Steven A. Molnar said the school has a few openings available for youngsters in grades kindergarten, first or second.

“The open house is geared for those grade levels but anyone is welcome to come,” Mr. Molnar said. “The kids are already thrilled about having this larger space.”

Visitors will see progress on the new 700-square-foot addition. The work is being handled by Alvin Graber, an Amish man from Madrid and several of his sons.

Roughly $51,000 has been raised to cover the cost of the $74,000 project which should be finished in roughly three weeks, Mr. Molnar said.

Hoping to close that gap, he has been meeting with area civic groups, applying for grants and seeking donations from individuals.

“The parents have been very supportive by donating time, supplies and energy toward this project,” Mr. Molnar said.

The expansion will provide a large new classroom and two smaller classrooms for one-on-one instruction.

Three walls were torn down in the original portion of the school to create a large multi-purpose room for theater projects, potluck gatherings and other functions.

“We just outgrew the space we were in before. This is a better floor plan for the kinds of activities we do,” he said.

Enrollment has grown from 33 to 40 students and two new staff members have been hired.

Jennifer Whittaker, Canton, will teach younger grades. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Empire State in literature and writing. She previously worked at SUNY Canton as a circulation, reserves and outreach librarian.

Layla Mayville, Moira, will teach middle school ages and art to all the students. She holds a bachelors of fine arts and a minor in psychology from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a master of arts in teaching in art education from Tufts University, Medford, Mass. She has taught art in various public schools and local cultural art centers.

For more information about the open house or the school call 379-9474 or visit the website at: wwwlittleriverschool.org. Donations are tax-deductible and can be mailed to: Little River Community School, 1227 County Route 25, Canton, N.Y. 13617.

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