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Rochester Schools to expand pre-kindergarten

A $2.9 million facility in Oakland Township purchased by the Rochester Community Schools will be used to expand the district's pre-kindergarten program, district officials said.

The facility, at 3838 North Rochester Road, includes a 36,000-square foot building and 23.58 acres of land. The purchase will facilitate a year-round, extended-hours childcare and preschool program that will operate from 6 a.m to 6:30 p.m. The new program is expected to serve children six and younger, and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.

Rochester Community Schools Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Debi Fragomeni said the district's preschool program is at capacity, with a waiting list of those who would like to participate if space was available.

"By expanding our district's preschool and daycare programs and offering a year-round, extended-hours operation, we can better serve the needs of families residing within the Rochester Community School District boundaries," she said.

The district currently operates 29 preschool classes in nine school buildings throughout the district. Existing preschool classes for students, ages 3-4, are held in schools or portable buildings across from the district at locations with excess classroom capacity. Preschool and before and after school programs are currently available on student school days only, except for summer camps.

Superintendent Robert Shaner said it was necessary for the district to expand its footprint in order to enhance its pre-K programs and meet the needs of the community.

The property purchase is part of the district's business plan to look for real property to expand its preschool program. That plan included an analysis of demographics, programming, pricing structure and financial forecasts, said Dana Taylor, assistant superintendent of business affairs.

"As the search for real property ensued, we were fortunate to have been able to locate a building that was originally designed with 13 classrooms suitable for preschool and childcare programs," she said. "The requirement for certain upgrades includes kitchen renovations and enhanced security, telephone and technology systems."

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