By Starrla Cray
MONTROSE, MN By next school year, early childhood programs in Montrose will have a new, spacious home, in a separate building next to Montrose Elementary School.
Reconstruction work on the vacant building started two weeks ago, right after the official groundbreaking ceremony.
“We are building it for the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District,” said contractor Mike Bauer of Bauer Designs in Delano.
“We plan to have substantial completion by March,” Bauer said. “We’ll finish the site work in May.”
The original building was about 13,000 square feet. Bauer and his crew recently demolished a 4,000-square-foot section that was in poor condition. The remaining 9,000 square feet is in excellent condition, Bauer said.
Bauer Designs will be moving the walls to make classrooms. The company will also be constructing a large commons area that students can use for playtime when the weather is not good enough to go outside.
So far, Bauer is working on putting in a new water main, and digging trenches to install new plumbing.
Community education director Kim Carlson said she is very excited about the possibilities that go along with a new building.
“What a great location, right by the school,” Carlson said. “This will be nice to have space for the kids and families.
With the added space, she said they might try to have literacy nights, speakers, and other educational events.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to have more activities,” Carlson said.
Currently, preschool, special education, Head Start, and Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) classes are all at Montrose Elementary School.
Eventually, all of those will hopefully be moved into the new building, Carlson said.
“We’re looking at housing a day care in there, as well,” Bauer added.
The building will have classroom space for a total of 85 students at one time, Bauer said.
One program Carlson said she is most excited for is family literacy, which works with both children and parents. An adult basic education teacher helps parents earn their GEDs or learn English as a second language, while a preschool teacher educates the children.
The school district currently offers the family literacy program in Buffalo, but the new building would give Montrose the space to have this type of class, as well.