District 63 to break ground for First Steps Preschool facility
East Maine District 63 families, board members, staff and administrators will gather at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, to formally break ground on the 40,000-square-foot First Steps Preschool early learning center at 10000 Dee Road, in Des Plaines. The center will open its doors for the 2020-2021 school year.
For many years, First Steps has operated out of three District 63 elementary schools: Apollo, Melzer, and Washington. But since 2008, the preschool population has almost doubled and is now approaching 300. With a rapidly expanding number of students and full-day kindergarten on the horizon, First Steps needs its own space: one specifically designed to meet the needs of preschoolers.
Highlights of the project will include:
• 40,000 square feet of new space -- use of natural materials throughout.
• STEM, nutrition and active play learning hubs.
• Large playground area and a separate sensory playground.
• Geothermal heating and cooling.
• Floor pattern curves through the building echoing the nearby Des Plaines River.
• Self-contained Learning Studio.
• Library/performance space.
• Gymnasium for gross motor skills play.
The new center is part of District 63's master plan, which also includes shifting all sixth-graders to a newly expanded and upgraded Gemini Middle School, expanding to provide full-day kindergarten, redrawing elementary school attendance lines to better balance students throughout the district, and the launch of a new Family Resource Center.
The district will not require additional property tax revenues to pay for the master plan. It has adequate funds to cover costs using its existing tax revenue stream and bonds (a standard method of paying for facilities projects).
The special celebration on Aug. 15 will include remarks by school leaders, a special preschool construction play area, and involvement by students. Refreshments will be served.
First Steps is one of East Maine School District 63's seven schools, which offer a rich learning environment and multicultural perspective to more than 3,400 students in the diverse communities of Des Plaines, Niles, Glenview, Park Ridge and Morton Grove. Committed to teaching excellence that provides all students with the specific opportunities they need to succeed and thrive, its five elementary schools, middle school, preschool, and expanded learning programs foster each student's academic, social, emotional, and behavioral growth and achievement. Visit www.emsd63.org to learn more.
This event is open to the public. RSVPs are encouraged; email firstname.lastname@example.org.