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RCS prepares for Pre-K’s move to Mars Hill building

Work is underway at the Mars Hill Bible School Russellville campus, as Russellville City Schools begins construction to prepare for the new Russellville City Schools Early Childhood Center.

RCS announced purchase of the Mars Hill building in February and has been working on plans to renovate the building to have it best fit the need of its students.

“Having an early childhood learning center will provide great benefits for our Pre-K students and their teachers,” said West Elementary Principal Deanna Hollimon. “The curriculum is targeted toward teaching standards using developmentally appropriate strategies and resources.  The students will be able to interact with peers their own age, and the teachers will be able to collaborate with one another regarding planning.”

All Pre-K classes will be moving from the West Elementary campus to the new center. Hollimon said the Early Childhood Center is considered an extension of the West Elementary campus, with herself serving as principal and Monica Moon serving as assistant principal and Pre-K director. There will not be a full-time on-site director.

The Early Childhood Center will have six classrooms and can accommodate up to 108 students. There will be five classrooms in use this fall because of lack of demand and funding, serving 90 students.

Hollimon said at this time, there are still additional spaces available for students, but WES is going to be working with the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education to implement guidelines and ensure an appropriate number of students for each classroom during the virus.

Hollimon said construction began on the building at the beginning of June. Classrooms are being expanded to fit mandatory size guidelines, and fresh paint is being applied.

The new Early Childhood Center will also allow for RCS to offer before and afterschool care for Pre-K students at an additional cost.

The three classrooms at West Elementary that were previously allocated for Pre-K will now house kindergarten classrooms, as these classes move to keep age levels in close proximity.

“We were completely out of classrooms at West Elementary, so the space that is being freed up by moving Pre-K to the center will be used as our enrollment continues to grow,” Hollimon said. “We have been faced with a lack of space at WES for quite some time.  Several of our support teachers have had to share classrooms or have had to be placed in extremely small spaces.  We are now able to remedy that issue due to the free space made available with Pre-K relocating to the new Russellville City Schools Early Childhood Center.”