An official cutting of a “paper chain” by preschool students, staff, and members of the community marks the opening of Centennial School District’s new Early Childhood Learning Center located at 575 Birch Street in Lino Lakes.
Throughout the program’s history, classes had been held in various locations throughout the Centennial communities. In an effort to create more stability for the early childhood program and long-term cost savings for the residents, Centennial chose to utilize lease levy dollars which were previously used for the annual leases to finance the construction of the center.
The Early Childhood Center is a 17,064 square foot addition of Rice Lake Elementary that houses nine full size classrooms, multi-use space, offices, bathrooms, and storage. More than 200 students enroll in Centennial’s Early Childhood Family Education courses and School Readiness Preschool. The additional space provides a high quality preschool experience to approximately 60 more children, increasing the capacity and meeting the needs of parents in the district.
“Centennial’s commitment to education begins at birth through grade 12 and beyond to our entire community,” said Christina Wilson, Centennial School Board Chair. “As a school board, we chose to invest in our schools and in our community to meet the needs of parents and children,” she added.
“We know that strong schools make strong communities,” said Brian Dietz, Superintendent of Centennial Schools. “Today we are proud to have a permanent home for our early learners—our future Centennial Cougars,” he added.
Bobbie Burnham, Director of Early Learning with the Minnesota Department of Education participated in the program, and Art Rolnick, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, addressed the economics of education.