By CYNTHIA KMETT
The morning was damp and dreary, but the crowd in the tent at the rear of the Niles Center was filled with excitement. They were gathered for the official groundbreaking of the Troy School District’s Early Childhood Center.
Not only did the crowd contain School Board members, teachers, parents and the mayor of Troy, there were 20 young preschoolers clad in hardhats and yielding shovels who came for the festivities. The new 72,276-square-foot center on Square Lake has been in the planning stages for several years.
Funding it was the primary reason the district decided to sell some of the property it would no longer need for future schools. With 26 classrooms, this new edifice will free up much-needed space in elementary schools throughout Troy. It will also have the Central Enrollment Office.
Niles Center is a fairly central location for families on both sides of Troy. Designed to delight the 3, 4, and 5 year-olds of the community, the facilities will provide spaces to encourage collaboration, movement, and exploration. There will be lots of interior and exterior spaces for the little ones to develop their gross motor skills. The district will provide learning spaces that are flexible, adaptable, and stimulating. In addition, the new center will be “EcoFriendly” to allow interaction with the natural environment.
TSD Superintendent Dr. Richard Machesky noted the center will serve over 600 students and is “a facility that meets their needs as they collaborate and grow.”
In welcoming guests, School Board President Karl Schmidt noted they had been working for three years to develop a strategy for bringing this building to fruition. He particularly wanted to thank Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Instruction Kris Griffor for her contributions. This project, he added, has the things Kris wanted us to have for the children. There were also thanks to the “teachers who are the backbone of the community,” and to the Board for its vision for what makes the community better.
Troy Mayor Dane Slater was on hand for the groundbreaking and called it a historic event for the city of Troy. He also pointed out that when he asked anyone why they moved to Troy, the first thing they say is that the schools are why they want to bring their family here.
Barton Malow will be the builder of the new center, with Christa Amatio as project manager and Darin Madden as site superintendent. They will be making sure the building is built to design and comes in on time and within budget. If the weather cooperates, the center should be ready for its newest little ones in the fall of 2019.
Is there a name for the new Early Childhood Center? “No not yet,” said School Board Trustee Dr. Nancy Philippart; “We’re just happy to be building it.”