NKC Schools opens first phase of Early Education Center

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The first phase of the North Kansas City School District’s new Early Education Center is open. Each hallway or “pod” is a bright and airy space featuring creative elements.

GLADSTONE — Teachers at North Kansas City Schools’ new Early Education Center welcomed 260 special education students Monday, Jan. 11. While the official grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the EEC will take place this fall when the facility fully opens to all of the district’s Pre-K students, the first phase is open and students and teachers are busy.

According to a district press release, students enter the building and see a colorful and creative learning space. Each hallway or “pod” is a bright and airy space featuring creative elements where students’ imaginations can take off.

The flexible seating allows for students to collaborate on projects or provide a small nook where they can curl up with a book. Each classroom has a bench seat which serves as a deescalation zone, cubby spaces and a lot of interactive technology. A multipurpose center provides students and teachers a large open space for activities. Students will enjoy playgrounds in front of the center, secured with fencing.

The 121,000 square foot space is located at 6479 N. Prospect in Gladstone. The building used to house the Hobby Lobby and Price Chopper in Prospect Plaza. The facility allows NKC Schools to centralize both special education and Pre-K programs.

The second phase will be open this fall with all Pre-K students. Eventually the EEC will accommodate more than 900 students all under one roof. The $24 million project center was made possible with the community’s passage of a $155 million bond in 2020.