BROKEN BOW—Dirt has officially been turned to mark the beginning of construction for the preschool project at Broken Bow Public Schools (BBPS). A groundbreaking was held on Thursday, September 24 and attended by BBPS staff, board members, and Chief Construction out of Grand Island.
The preschool will move from Custer School and added to the north side of North Park Elementary. The new space will allow for shared resources between the elementary and preschool and bring long-term cost savings by condensing the number of buildings within the district. The addition to North Park will feature three classrooms, work space, and a fourth classroom to be used for various indoor activities such as gross motor and a preschool cafeteria.
School board member Pam Holcomb said she is excited to see the project get started and looks forward to the advantages that will come with having preschoolers in the same building as older kids, whom Holcomb said will serve as role models to the younger students.
“Like anything else you have to have a strong foundation. Besides parents, preschool is the foundation of a kid’s education. And if it’s not strong, like anything else, it’s going to be harder as they grow older,” Holcomb told KCNI/KBBN. “I have always felt strongly in preschool, I think it’s important. This will just help move our kids to where they need to be.”
Jessica Gibbons has been a preschool teacher in the district for nine years and said she looks forward to having her own kids (age 3) at the new preschool next fall. She said her twins are excited to be at the big school with their big brother.
The preschool has been at Custer for about five years and also housed programs from birth to age three, according to Gibbons. As a preschool teacher, Gibbons said she is anxious to collaborate with the kindergarten teachers upon moving to North Park in order to see what they do day-to-day in their classrooms.
“I think one benefit of moving the preschool over here to North Park is that transition to kindergarten will be so much more smooth,” Gibbons said.
The preschool addition has been discussed by the school board since February 2019 and the contract with Chief Construction was approved by the school board in a 4-1 vote on August 17, 2020 in the0 amount of $1,899,000 (Click here to view the August 18 story). The contract includes a $100,000 contingency meaning the board can spend up to approximately $1,999,495 if necessary–not to exceed that amount.
Chief Construction Project Manager Lynn Johnson (in photo), Business Development Manager Mark Moravec, Project Superintendent Jared Hixson (who will be on site during construction) were all in attendance on Thursday morning.
Mark Moravec said Chief Construction is pleased to be part of the project and is looking forward to continuing to help build Broken Bow. Chief has previously been involved with the Broken Bow Public Library remodel, Arrow East Hotel, as well as the judicial center, Dairy Queen, and car wash on the west side of town.
The Broken Bow preschool project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2021.