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The Carthage Press
  • An update on Carthage’s early childhood center

  • Progress is ahead of schedule for the newest education facility in the Carthage R-9 School District.
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  • Progress is ahead of schedule for the newest education facility in the Carthage R-9 School District.
    The building under construction on Fairview Avenue will house three early childhood education organizations: the Title I Preschool, Parents As Teachers (PAT) and Early Childhood Special Education. Named after significant contributors for the building: the PAT portion will be the SMB Learning Center for Parents As Teachers; the other portions are the Ruth I. Kolpin Rubison Early Childhood Center and the W.B. Wright Early Childhood Special Services Center. The school district has set a goal of $1 million for private donations from the community, and so far has received $780,000.
    “It's very remarkable,” said Dr. Mark Baker, assistant superintendent for business for Carthage R-9. “It shows a lot of community support and understanding of the needs of the students before they get into school. Research shows the earlier you can reach a child with a disability the better it will be for their education and development.”
    Baker reported the construction process is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule for the 14,000-square-foot facility. By early September, the roof will be installed.
    “That is a big milestone,” Baker said. “A lot of trades are waiting on that to be finished to work on the inside. Danny Barnes, the project superintendent, has been doing a great job making things run smoothly.”
    The facility features seven classrooms for the preschool and early childhood special education; which will be an integrated system for half-day schedules. The storm-safe room has an estimated capacity of 175 people, though, Baker noted there would never be that many people in the building at one time.
    The school district broke ground on this project in March, and hopes to see it finished in February 2015.
    The early childhood special education students will be moved into the building first (out of Fairview Christian Church space); the PAT will be moved in gradually; and the preschool will be moved in the summer of 2015 for an easier transition.
    A new city road will be installed on the east side of the new building connecting Fairview Avenue to College Street.

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