Purdy relocates preschool classes

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Former daycare center to house classes during construction

The Purdy school district, gearing up for construction of a new performing arts center, storm shelter and preschool building on the west side of Gabby Gibbons Drive, began operations recently for its preschool in a new location.

Throughout October, the school district moved supplies for its preschool into the former Rainbow Dream Daycare at 104 Business Highway 37, by the intersection of Highway C and Washington. Classes in the new location were slated to start today.

The current preschool building, across from the west end of the high school, will be demolished to make room for the new facility.

Initially, the school district approached the city about using the community center. While Mayor Bo Prock wanted to make every effort to help the school, aldermen expressed concern about canceling longstanding rental arrangements and providing adequate accommodations.

“The early idea was to look at the community center for a temporary preschool mainly for safety concerns,” said Superintendent Steven Chancellor. “We viewed it as a potential win-win. The students could remain close to the main campus and the city could generate some revenue for an underused facility. The original details Bo and I discussed were pretty straightforward and beneficial to the city. Somehow that proposal became incredibly complex and council members started attaching many more strings. It was no longer mutually beneficial.

“We were approached with the idea of purchasing the former Rainbow Dreams Daycare building shortly after.  The facility is actually more conducive to a preschool environment — an existing playground, an interior designed for younger students, secure storage, larger space, etc.”

The school district offered $95,000 for the property, playground equipment and the contents of the building, minus personal items, which was accepted.

The purchase of the building still raised issues with city council members. In October, Prock discussed putting in a school crosswalk. He said the city would be obligated to provide electricity for a flashing crosswalk and to put up a flashing sign. It would be up to the school district to make arrangements with the Missouri Department of Transportation for establishing a crosswalk.

Chancellor said the school district planned to contact MoDOT this week about establishing a school zone for speed limit purposes. He was not sure a crosswalk was necessary for a preschool, and counted on the city making that determination.

Chancellor saw potential for the building after the new preschool building is finished and the classes move back onto the school campus.

“[The building] also provides us with great flexibility once the new preschool is operational,” Chancellor said. “The idea with the most traction right now is operating a school-sponsored daycare. It would address a dire need in our community and would be a great primer for students entering preschool.”

Construction on the FEMA project is expected to take 280 to 360 days. Chancellor said the district could potentially use the daycare site for its preschool for a full year.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: