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Last leg of child development family service center campaign kicks off

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (June 8, 2005) -- The Ross County/Ohio University-Chillicothe partnership to build a child development family service center announced the kickoff of its last leg of the $3.7 million campaign with the announcement of a generous donation from Kenworth Truck Company at a press event on Friday, June 3.

Kenworth Truck Company, a division of PACCAR Inc, has pledged $75,000 to Ohio University-Chillicothe to be used for the service center project.

"Kenworth is pleased to support this important initiative that will benefit the entire Ross County community," said Scott Blue, Kenworth-Chillicothe plant manager. "Kenworth has been a member of this community for more than 30 years, and we want to help ensure the future success of children in Ross County by our contribution to this major project."

Kenworth, a leading manufacturer of heavy- and medium-duty trucks, operates a manufacturing plant in Chillicothe. Kenworth, which is headquartered in Kirkland, Wash., has an extensive dealer network of more than 290 dealer locations in the United States and Canada.

The Ross County/Ohio University-Chillicothe Child Development Family Service Center will be home to a wide range of essential children's health, nutrition and education services. Plans to break ground for the center are set for Sept. 15 on the Ohio University-Chillicothe campus. Approximately $350,000 is still needed for the new center to become a reality.

Ohio University-Chillicothe has already committed more than $1 million in land and financial support for the new center. To date, major donors and contributors include the Ohio Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability (MRDD), the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR), the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and Ross County Head Start.

"The university's regional campuses are continually looking for ways to contribute to their local communities, and this endeavor continues that tradition of the community and campus working together to improve the quality of life for residents of the region," Ohio University Vice President for Regional Higher Education Charles Bird said.

A substantial amount of the building space will focus on occupational and physical therapy services for MRDD-eligible children. The center is conceptually designed to include 21,000 square feet of space devoted to essential health and education services for children. Also, many services that are typically limited in availability to low-income families will now become a routine aspect of child development. Socio-economically disadvantaged children will have development experiences and opportunities consistent with those available to children in middle class families.

"Ohio University-Chillicothe and Ross County have always had a strong relationship, and through this project we intend to reach beyond this relationship to assist with the economic and cultural development of the area," said Ohio University-Chillicothe Dean Rich Bebee. "There is no better investment than creating opportunities for our children, and we are gratified to be able to give back to the community in this manner."

Ohio University-Chillicothe has experienced increased enrollment in education and nursing majors, and it hopes to expand the learning opportunities for those students by incorporating the new center into their academic study through clinical and observational opportunities. "Ohio University looks for opportunities to build economic development partnerships, especially when they involve education," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. "This partnership will give Ohio University-Chillicothe students increased learning opportunities, while serving the children and families of Ross County."

The architectural firm of Moody Nolan Associates has been selected to design the new building, which will be located on the Ohio University-Chillicothe campus near the Shoemaker Convocation Center.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Marisa Long, (740) 597-2938 or longm1@ohio.edu

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