Not only is there a new middle school under construction in Grain Valley, but soon an Early Childhood/Special Education facility will join it in the building process.

Not only is there a new middle school under construction in Grain Valley, but soon an Early Childhood/Special Education facility will join it in the building process.

“It will allow a centralized and separate facility for these students and parents that it serves,” said Grain Valley Superintendent Roy Moss. “The biggest challenge is the need of additional space for the elementary level as well as the Prairie Branch building.”

Currently, the early childhood and special education programs are being housed in four rooms at Prairie Branch Elementary.

However, with student enrollment growing in both programs as well as at the elementary level, Moss said the school district is quickly running out of space. Space is at such a premium at Prairie Branch that some of the treatments and therapy in the early childhood/special education program even take place in the hallway.

“We need to do this for our kids,” said board of education member Jan Reding of the new facility. “The longer we put this off, the worse its going to get.”

The new facility, which will be built on the Pink Hill Road campus, south of the current central office, will have a capacity for almost 130 students.

More than half of the $1.3 million cost of the building, $679,000, will come in the form of federal stimulus funds earmarked specifically for early childhood and special education programs.

The remainder of the construction costs are reimbursable through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education over eight years as part of its funding for special education and early childhood education programs.

“This new building will allow us to use rooms currently at Prairie Branch where the ECSE program is being held right now,” Moss said. “Plus, it allows this building to be exclusively for the ECSE program in design and scope.”

A ground-breaking ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 1 at the Pink Hill Road campus. Construction is expected to start within a few weeks with completion sometime in 2011.

“I think what excites me most is the opportunity to supply a ECSE facility with a portion of the cost being paid through one-time federal funds and the remainder of the cost to be reimbursed over an eight-year period,” Moss said. “This facility is designed to meet our needs for several years.”