USD 475 to Keep Former High School Land, Build Early Childhood Center

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. –The USD 475 Board of Education voted unanimously during its December 8 meeting to retain the land where the former Junction City High School stood. The decision was made, primarily, because the land makes an ideal site for a new Early Childhood Center.

“One important aspect of the new Early Childhood Center proposal presented to the school board was the location of the new facility, and the Early Childhood Program staff believe that this location is best suited for the new ECC,” said Stephanie Waterman, Coordinator of the district’s Early Childhood Program.

Current building plans would increase the Early Childhood Program’s capacity to approximately 750 students and consolidate classes and staff that are currently spread throughout the district. It would also allow the district to offer free pre-kindergarten education to the community.

The facility would have state-of-the-art technology and modern accommodations for students with special needs.

The district has allocated $15 million of its own funds and will apply for a Defense Community Investment Program (DCIP) grant from the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) to supplement the rest of the cost, which is expected to be another $15 million. To qualify for the DCIP grant, applicants must show proof of available land and have a shovel-ready project with completed construction plans.

“We feel really good about our chances with the grant,” said David Wild, USD 475 Construction Program Manager. “The board’s commitment of $15 million and our strong relationship with the administering authority, the OLDCC, gives us reason to be optimistic.”

The DCIP grant will be submitted by early next summer, their decision is expected no later than August. If awarded, construction would begin immediately, with plans to have it completed within a year.

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For inquiries, please contact Justin Phemister, Media & Marketing Specialist, Geary County Schools USD 475