Eleven years ago, Learn ‘n Grow preschool began with one classroom. Today, Otsego Public Schools broke ground on what will be a seven-classroom, nature-based early childhood education center to house all of our preschool under one roof and expand the opportunities for children to get an early education. This has been on the wish list for Otsego for years and it’s finally a reality thanks to voters passing the bond-issued extension a year ago, and to the Bennett family for donating $500,000 for help with tuition for our families.
“I feel like sometimes it’s a little bit of a dream. Years ago when it started, we knew that there was a need for preschool in our community and it continues to grow all the time and it’s so exciting that we’ll all be together in a building so all the preschool teachers can work together, that’s probably the biggest benefit I’m excited to see,” says Heather Badders, Early Childhood Director.
Since this project is all about the kids, our preschoolers did the honors of being the first to move dirt on this new building. A large crowd of parents, teachers, administrators, board members, city leaders and OPS Foundation members helped count them down. “3, 2, 1, 0!” The kids dug in and continued to play in the dirt for a while, they loved it! We had about 25 students take part.
“What an exciting day here in Otsego. Just the excitement we had today and the opportunity for our youngest learners and even our community with the additional space. Once again, I want to thank the community for their support of the bond-issued extension and what a great facility this is going to be,” says Jeff Haase, Superintendent of Otsego Public Schools.
“We had a beautiful day for the groundbreaking, it was very exciting to see all the kids. We’re incredibly excited to see what this opportunity brings for Otsego and the surrounding communities,” says Otsego Board of Education President Scot Reitenour.
The heavy equipment will come into this property within the next month to do the real work with plans to open in the fall of 2019. Registration for the new center will start in January. This project is a $5.7 million investment. The building is designed with seven classrooms and a multi-purpose room that will be used for wrap-around child care, special events for day and evening as well as a rental possibility for the community. This site, nestled within a wooded area on the west side of Otsego Public Schools’ land, will be the perfect backdrop for this new addition to the district.
“Young people and their families will be able to experience a nature-based preschool full of learning opportunities,” said Badders. “School-age children will be able to expand their STEM learning right on the property. Community members will be able to take part in our Sprouting Naturalist Programs and use the building for special events.”
“We’re so excited to get this project underway and have a unique preschool experience available for our youngest learners,” Haase said, “We hope one day to be able to offer universal preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds in Otsego and this is a great start.”
Learn more at lng.otsegops.org.