Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Seaman's Early Childhood Task Force Gets Look at Preschool Building Plans, Curriculum

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Seaman's Early Childhood Task Force Gets Look at Preschool Building Plans, Curriculum

Article excerpt

With a little more than a year before the doors open on the Seaman school district's Mathes Early Learning Center, members of a community task force were brought up to speed Monday on the progress of plans for the preschool program's building and curriculum.

"It is the best dollars we can spend," Steve Noble, superintendent of Seaman Unified School District 345, said at the beginning of the early learning task meeting. "It's an economic development issue, it's an early childhood readiness issue, it's a parent issue. It's an issue for all of us."

Maria Kutina, an architect with HTK Architects, of Topeka, showed task force members blueprints for the Mathes building which the district will begin taking bids on Aug. 8 for construction.

"This building is going to serve as a first impression as to what a school education is like," she told the task force. "We need to have this building up to the same standards as other districts buildings, where parents are proud to drop off their children."

Renovating and retrofitting the former Lyman Elementary School that was later converted into an alternative high school for preschool children is expected to cost about $2.2 million. It will have nine classrooms, a large multipurpose room, a storm shelter and several other specialized areas. The inside of the building will also have Seaman district colors, only "brighter," Kutina said, to reflect that it is a preschool.

"We are pretty much touching every part of this building," she said. "We are working diligently in maximizing every dollar for this project."

Dedra Raines, USD 345's director of special services, said Parents As Teachers will be housed at Mathes when the building opens in August of next year.

"We're so excited to have them in our building and intergrated into our staff," she said.

Jesey Vopata, who is the parent representative on the early learning task force, said she was excited to see the plans for the Mathes center given that she attended Lyman Elementary as a child.

"I think what they're going to do is very cool," she said. "I'm excited. My son will start preschool this year and I have a two-year-old who will start hopefully in a couple of years. …

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