Sen. Tom Carper joined United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Denise Lovelady and state and local representatives Nov. 18 to announce a $7.6 million USDA Rural Development loan to the future Sussex Montessori School.

The USDA investment will be used to fund the site acquisition and renovations needed to transform the old Wheaton Farm property, including the historic barn and farmhouse, into a Montessori charter school serving children in Kindergarten through grade six.

Last year, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation of Sens. Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Education in support of the school’s creation.

“This USDA loan is a crucial next step crucial to help this public charter school become a reality,” said Carper. “The work that the volunteers, supporters and leadership of Sussex Montessori School are doing now will help families in Western Sussex for generations to come.”

“I applaud the efforts of the USDA Delaware and Maryland office and the leaders and volunteers of the Sussex Montessori School in securing this significant loan,” said Coons. “This investment will go a long way to provide new and exciting educational opportunities for students in Sussex County.”

“I’m so grateful to the USDA and to all of the stakeholders of Sussex Montessori School for making today a reality,” said Blunt Rochester. “Western Sussex County will now have additional education options, ensuring that more Delaware students continue to learn and grow.”

Site improvements also include renovations to water, sewer and electric utilities, as well as storm water management, roadways and parking areas.

“The Sussex Montessori Charter School will be a critical addition to the Sussex County Public School system,” said Lovelady. “Together with Montessori Works Inc. and Sussex Montessori School Inc., the USDA will bring to fruition a premier education structure that will empower dedicated teachers to shape young minds with excellence. Investing in future generations is a core value of our organization.”

Recently, Lisa Coldiron was hired to be Sussex Montessori’s head of school.

“We are so grateful for USDA and PNC Bank and their financial support of this incredible vision,” said Coldiron. “We are very excited about building a beautiful, inviting campus for our families, and we want all Delaware families to know that they are welcomed here, and we are committed to helping our children become great leaders in our community.”