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Byron Center to Open Stand-Alone Early Childhood Center

A renovated Byron Center facility will soon bustle with the activity of the district’s youngest learners.

Byron Center’s first stand-alone Early Childhood Center opened to day care programs May 28, and to all preschool programs for the 2013-2014 school year.

“It’s kind of been a dream of the district for a long time,” said Melissa Thomas, Byron Center Early Childhood director.

The 23,000 square-foot building, which is attached to the Administration Building, recently underwent a $2.3 million renovation. The 14-room building, with a capacity for 254, will house the tuition-based three- and four-year-old programs, the state-funded Great Start Readiness Program, a Bright Beginnings playgroup, the Early Childhood Special Education program and Home Community, a program for children with speech and language development disorders.

Programs have always been spread across the district’s elementary buildings, sometimes giving preschool teachers the feeling of “being on an island.”

“What the ECC opens up is the collaborative piece,” Thomas said.

Teachers will be able to gather for professional development and work together in the facility where they educate youngsters. “It’s exciting to see it finally come together,” she said.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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