HYANNIS – The Barnstable School Department is looking to open a state-of-the-art early learning center for pre-k children.
Barnstable Superintendent of Schools Mary Czajkowski made a presentation on the first phase of the project last night to the Barnstable Town Council to get funding of more than half a million dollars for the center.
The district’s current integrated preschool is located at Centerville Elementary School and provides a range of services for special needs.
“To me, the superintendent, we need to put the resources into children at that age to prevent long-term costs and long-term services down the road,” she said.
The plan is to build six modular classrooms on the campus of Hyannis West Elementary School. Czajkowski said $2 million has been approved from capital improvement funds to construct six permanent modular classrooms, similar to the Sturgis West campus, The additional half million is needed to complete the project for additional space and contingencies, she said. It would come from the general reserve savings account, she said.
Siting the center in Hyannis was a decision made because of the population growth in that area, Czajkowski said. Since the start of the school year, the Barnstable School District has received 29 referrals of children at age 2.9 or older who need special services.
“What we have seen over the last several years is the growth in the Hyannis West area. We’re finding that many of our children are not coming to school until possibly kindergarten or even first grade,” she said.
She said the reason for that is that some parents may think there are fees or that their children are not ready for school.
Czajkowski said having the children in their own building would be beneficial. “They need appropriate space for testing, speech and occupational therapy,” she said.
“This is an opportunity for Barnstable to, I believe, have on the Cape the first state of the art early learning center program for integrated preschool children,” she said.
The town council will hold a public hearing and a vote on the project at its December 4 meeting.
“It’s exciting to think that possibly in a month or so if this gets final approval on December 4 from the council, we could be breaking ground for a new early learning center that really is conducive to meeting the needs of our children,” Czajkowski said.
The plan is to occupy the building by September of next year.