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updated: 6/10/2014 4:48 AM

Early childhood center 'likely to be a reality' in District 59

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  • Video: Early childhood center

  • District 59 is considering building a 55,000-square-foot early childhood center on the east side of  Holmes Junior High School in Mount Prospect.

       District 59 is considering building a 55,000-square-foot early childhood center on the east side of Holmes Junior High School in Mount Prospect.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 officials have proposed building an early childhood learning center that could open as soon as August 2015.

The proposed $14.3 million facility would be built as a 55,000-square-foot addition on the east side of Holmes Junior High School, 1900 Lonnquist Boulevard in Mount Prospect.

It would have 20 classrooms, an indoor play area, an outdoor play/courtyard and sensory gardens. The school would serve preschoolers from throughout the district, which includes portions of Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect.

Currently, there are 16 preschool classrooms across five school sites.

The school board on Monday night agreed with conceptual plans for the facility, though it deferred making a decision on how to fund it.

"In the past we've only dreamt about this, and now it's likely to be a reality," said Board Vice President Janice Krinsky.

Becki Streit, the district's assistant superintendent for educational services, said having a centralized preschool site would allow for more efficient use of resources and more flexible programming.

Tony Rossi, the district's director of buildings and grounds, said officials have proceeded with a feasibility study and site survey. He said the Holmes location was found to be the best site in the district for an early childhood center, with room for growth if needed.

The facility would be constructed east of Holmes school, and 132 feet from the closest house. There would be separate pickup locations for cars and school buses, Rossi said.

The school board is considering three options for how to fund construction:

• Borrowing the full estimated $14.3 million project cost by issuing bonds.

• Borrowing a portion of funds by issuing "bank-qualified" bonds in an amount less than $10 million, and using district reserve funds to pay for the rest.

• Using district reserves to cover the full cost.

The board could vote to formally authorize architects to design plans at its next meeting June 23. Construction could begin by this fall, with a planned opening for the following school year.

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