Kramer Education Center to have substantial completed this year | Local

The new Columbus Public Schools Education Center is just one of several major projects scheduled to open in the spring of 2023. CPS superintendent Troy Lefelholtz said the construction of the current Columbus High School building – a $ 49.9 million bond issue approved by voters in 2014 – seems to have begun development in Columbus.

Since then, things have continued to grow.

“This community 9, 10 years ago decided to be progressive. And I think we see the fruits of this progressive attitude towards some of the things we see now, ”Lefelholz said.

The school district’s latest project, the Kramer Education Center, will eventually include a preschool, a kindergarten – also known as a child development center – and administrative offices. Part of the construction will be the old Kramer High School, which is being reconstructed, and an extension of approximately the same square area. Upon completion, the total area of ​​the new facility will be approximately 70,000 square feet.

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The first phase of the project – the preschool center and the exterior walls of the day care center and district offices – is currently on track for substantial completion in December this year. It was originally scheduled to be completed in January 2022, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a shortage of materials and delays in construction.

Leonard Kwapnioski, director of CPS technology and operations, noted on February 1 that the roofing over the preschool is expected to be completed that day and about 95% of the carcass has been completed. Once the roof is installed, he added, an awning for the preschool will be installed and then the rest of the building will be completed.

“Now we have all the steel in place, we have all our roofing materials,” said Kwapnieski. “Those were two big things we missed for a while.”

The facility will have three parking lots – one on the east side of the building for preschool, one on the south side for day care and a larger parking lot on the west side for office space, Kwapnieski said.

There will also be two separate playgrounds – one for preschoolers and one for day care, he added, due to state law that does not allow mixing them.

According to Kwapnieski, access to the building will be controlled, and a long centralized corridor will connect all three parts of the new facility.

There are currently five preschools in CPS elementary schools – two in Centennial and one each in West Park, Emerson and Lost Creek elementary schools; He is not in North Park. The creation of the Kramer Education Center will allow the CPS to expand its preschool program from five classes to at least nine, Lefelholtz said.

“We will also have what we call a junior kindergarten, just some of those 4-year-olds who have just turned 5 who may not be ready for kindergarten,” Lefelholz said. “It allows them to work on their development a little longer.”

Parents whose children will attend preschool from the next school year, in early 2023 will be able to transfer their children to a new institution.

“During the Christmas holidays, we will transfer our preschool classes from the primary school to this central institution,” Lefelholz said, adding that the preschool program will be fully open in the fall of 2023. that opens up at the same time, great. If not, they may be several months behind. ”

CPS is also developing a partnership with Central Public College to offer early childhood classes with double credit. The partnership will be an opportunity for the school district to help develop more childcare workers in Columbus, and for CPS’s own students it is an opportunity to continue on the path in this area. The Kramer Education Center will be used for this purpose.

“Between each of the two classes, we will have an observation room with windows that open onto both rooms,” Kwapnioski said. “They will be able to enter from the corridor. They will not have access to children in this area, but they can see what is happening. “

Child care has always been a necessity in the Columbus community, Lefelholtz said, and the new institution is expected to help with this, both in preschool and day care.

The day garden will operate as a business through the Columbus Public Schools Foundation. According to CPS Foundation Executive Director Nicole Anderson, it will be open to the entire Columbus community, an estimated 122 seats.

The population of Columbus was growing rapidly. According to the 2020 census, there are 24,028 people living in Columbus, which is 1,917 people different from the 2010 census. As noted during CPS City Hall in December, the school population has exceeded projected growth as a result of a study conducted several years earlier. The current school population is estimated at 4,100 people, and the CPS is expected to exceed that figure in 2024, according to a December 2021 Columbus Telegram article.

“In all of our town hall meetings that we held as we developed the idea and moved forward, one of the things we heard from current vendors was, ‘We really need you to offer baby care, too.’ We took it to heart, and we will have three children’s rooms, ”Anderson said.

Anderson stressed that the new facility is designed to add opportunity to society rather than take away business from current day care providers.

“We’re very aware of this, that we don’t want to over-create a community and then take away from businesses that are already here and working well and doing great things,” Anderson said.

Most likely, she said, children between the ages of 12 weeks and about 4 or 5 will be admitted to kindergarten, but it will depend on the needs of society. Other details, including the cost of the visit, are still being clarified. But Anderson noted that officials plan for the kindergarten to receive subsidies – another need seen in Columbus.

A feature of the facility will be a public room where other local day care providers will be able to use a variety of toys, sensory items and ideas for lessons that can be expensive or difficult for a small provider.

“If we can help support other agencies and other home care providers as well as some of these things, I think we can be a great partner,” Anderson said.

It is expected that in the administrative part of the Kramer Education Center there will be a training center, which the CPS does not currently have. The school district must rent another learning facility, such as a hotel. The службы 7 Educational Service building is often used for other programs, Lefelholtz added.

He said district staff are in one place rather than housed in different buildings, and the current district office, which is close to the high school, could be used for other purposes.

However, the priority of the preschool and day care program. The district offices of the Kramer Education Center will develop as funding arrives, Lefelholz said.

Columbus is the fastest growing out-of-town city in Nebraska, Lefelholz noted, and the focus of the school district is to meet the needs of society.

“We are in the children’s business and we want to make sure we have the right programs for the children of our community. We want to make sure we have the capacity to meet their needs, ”he said.

Hannah Schrodt is The Columbus Telegram news editor. Contact her by email hannah.schrodt@lee.net.

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