Villa Park Elementary District 45 celebrates new Early Childhood Center

Villa Park Elementary District 45 celebrated the opening of its new Early Childhood Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 24. Tours of the new facility were offered after the ceremony.

The special ribbon-cutting ceremony invited the audience of families and community members to ceremoniously cut a portion of the ribbon and take it home as a keepsake of the celebration.

With colorful balloons arched over the main entrance to the Center, District 45 Superintendent Tony Palmisano and Board of Education President Judy Degnan welcomed guests and spoke before the ceremony. Dr. Palmisano credited the Board of Education with consistently embracing its leadership role.

"We are here today because of our school board's desire to provide what was necessary to dramatically improve our schools and our students' future," said Dr. Tony Palmisano. "They constantly do what's best for our students, our community, and our staff. And for this, I am so very grateful."

Degnan congratulated the community for their support in helping improve the educational experience for all students in District 45.

"Celebrations like today happen because of community support. Moms, dads, grandparents, friends, and neighbors - all who came together and voted because they wanted to improve their community, their schools, and their kids' futures," said Judy Degnan.

"Today is not only a day of celebration for our Board and the school district, but for all our community, families, and most of all, our children," Degnan said.

The new Early Childhood Center features 12 classrooms, sensory rooms, a large-space Gross Motor Room, staff offices, a common gathering area, and a conference room.

Planning and construction for the new Early Childhood Center began in 2020 after registered voters in the D45 community overwhelmingly passed a $30 million bond referendum in March of that year.

In addition to building the new Early Childhood Center, the referendum provided for the establishment of full-day kindergarten, increased safety and security in schools, upgraded technology, modernized learning environments for students through renovated classrooms and new furniture, and improvements to the STEM curriculum.

"In essence, your support has provided a significant refresh throughout our District," Degnan told the crowd. "I do hope you share with us a great sense of pride in this accomplishment."

As board president, Degnan recognized Wold Architects and Engineers, as well as the Gilbane Building Company, siting their help in visualizing and conceptualizing all of the projects of the referendum.

"We appreciate how invested your people are. You showed us that you really cared about getting it right for us," said Degnan.

"As a local firm, we're proud to have led the design of the Early Childhood Center for School District 45 to support the district's expansion of the program into a dedicated, centralized facility," said Alison Andrews, associate at Wold Architects and Engineers, lead designer on the project. "We're grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the district and design future-ready spaces that enhance the learning of our youngest students and will help accomplish the district's and community's goals for many years to come."

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