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ACPS Board Members and Staff Tour Completed Westmar Early Childhood


Allegany County Public Schools Board Members and staff recently toured the Westmar Early Childhood Center.  Renovation plans began in January 2022, to create a learning space that would comfortably house Pre-K and Head Start services to the George’s Creek and Westernport communities.

“The Westmar Early Learning Center has been a welcomed addition to the school and the community.  The addition of the Judy Center, Pre-K classrooms, sensory room, and playground has enhanced the opportunity for early childhood education for the George's Creek and Westernport districts,” says Lora Puffenberger, Principal of Westmar Middle School. “We have been able to blend the program with our middle school and make it a productive atmosphere for all students and staff. One of the most rewarding benefits has been the opportunity for our middle school students to read and mentor our Pre-K students and the community involvement we have been able to establish.”

The construction plans included renovating five classrooms to address Pre-K needs, and converting the former football room into usable space for the Judy Center. Completed plans added a Pre-K 3 classroom, a Pre-K 4 classroom, a Pre-K Partners classroom, space for the Judy Center, a sensory room, offices space for Infants and Toddlers staff, an Early Head Start classroom, a head start classroom. All of the interior building construction, as well as the installation of a new HVAC system, creation of the fenced-in outdoor play area, and pavilion was completed by ACPS Maintenance staff. 

Cunningham Recreation was consulted and installed the playground.

“This is a perfect example of Allegany County at its best,” says Jeffrey S. Blank, Superintendent of Schools. “So many different departments worked together to complete this project, to ensure the kids in our community are able to receive needed services.”

“You can tell this project took a lot of work,” says Robert Farrell, Board President. “This is a perfect example of the great teamwork that goes on at ACPS.”

“Kudos to the staff for maintaining this transition,” says Crystal Bender, Board Vice President. “It says a lot about the staff and kids, working together, making this happen.”

On the tour of the Westmar Early Childhood Center, Board Members and other staff were able to not only see the new classrooms, but were able to see a few classes in action, as well as parts of the middle school.  

"I want to thank President Farrell, Vice President Bender, Dr. Bohn, Ms. Lepley, and Central Office Staff for coming up to visit our Early Learning Center,” says Joshua Cook, Vice Principal of Westmar Middle School. “I cannot thank them enough for their continued support. The boys and girls were excited to meet them. I hope they enjoyed the tour and now have an understanding of the dynamics of the program. We hope to see them visit in the future." 

“Touring the school, it was impressive to see how hard the staff work,” says Dr. David Bohn, Board Member. “Especially the custodial staff, they do a great job of taking care of the school.”



Pictured from left to right: Samantha Kennedy, Program Coordinator; Dr. Cheri Helmstetter, Early Learning Coach; Joshua Cook, Westmar Middle School Vice Principal; Staci Noah, Assistant Supervisor of Elementary Education; Jay Marley, Supervisor of Maintenance and Construction; Jeffrey Blank, Superintendent of Schools;  Robert Farrell, ACPS Board President; Dr. David Bohn, ACPS Board Member; Lora Puffenberger, Westmar Middle School Principal;  Jaqueline Enright, Supervisor of Early Childhood Education; Rebecca Roby, Director of HRDC Children and Family Services; Crystal Bender, ACPS Board Vice President; and Lori Lepley, ACPS Board Member