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Expansion to Pickwick Early Childhood Center to be ready for next school year

According to officials at Ottumwa Community School District, the expansion to the Pickwick Early Childhood Center is on track to be finished by the beginning of next school year.
According to officials at Ottumwa Community School District, the expansion to the Pickwick Early Childhood Center is on track to be finished by the beginning of next school year.(James Barrickman)
Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 4:14 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - According to officials at Ottumwa Community School District, the expansion to the Pickwick Early Childhood Center should be ready to go by the fall of 2021.

Constructed two years ago, Pickwick Early Childhood Center offers a free daycare option for busy parents in the Wapello County area. When the school became more popular than anticipated, Ottumwa schools needed more room for its students.

“Once it was open, and we saw how many families were benefiting from what we were offering, it was a great time to build on so we wouldn’t have anybody not being able to come to our facility,” said Chuck Bray, the director of buildings and grounds at Ottumwa CSD.

Before the addition, administrators could only handle 400 students. Once it’s finished, the school will be able to house 600 students, with the addition of ten extra classrooms in the west end.

“We’re trying to match exactly what we already have. We’ll actually have three bigger classrooms that are on that end. It will have a partition so that we can make the room big, or so we can break it up into three smaller classrooms,” Bray explained.

Bray believes the school has become so popular because of its accessibility for lower income families, as well as the advantage it gives young children just starting school.

“Parents have a structured place to take their kids before they’re eligible to go to kindergarten. And by doing this, they get a structured program and they start learning early. And when they do go into kindergarten, they’re two years ahead of kids that wouldn’t have had that program,” said Bray.

Officials say the expansion should be good to go by the start of next school year.

Copyright 2020 KYOU. All rights reserved.

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