WASHINGTON, DC U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the ranking member of the Senate Housing Subcommittee, announced today that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding the Meeting Street National Center for Excellence $198,000 in federal funding for the construction of a fully-accessible gymnasium. Reed secured funding for the project in fiscal year 2006. "This funding will help Meeting Street continue to provide and expand its services to the South Providence community," said Reed. "By making the gym more accessible to those with special needs, hundreds of children and their families will have the opportunity to use the new facility for recreation, education, and community gatherings."The Meeting Street National Center for Excellence is a state-of-the-art campus that provides children, including those with disabilities and developmental delays, and their families with an inclusive environment where they can learn, play, and get access to support services and special equipment. Reed secured $180,000 in fiscal year 2003 and $400,000 in fiscal year 2005 to help establish the Center.The new gymnasium is expected to open in 2006 in South Providence and will provide and array of education and clinical services and research initiatives to children with developmental disabilities and other residents of the South Providence community. The 75,000 square foot facility will include a gymnasium, therapeutic pool, family resource center, library, outdoor play areas, community meeting spaces, and outdoor athletic fields. The project is expected to provide, after its third year, over $55 million in increased economic output for the community and region, where approximately 40 percent of the residents are under 18.