The Next Door early childhood education center has announced they have acquired the former Northwest General Hospital building at 5310 Capitol Drive for Head Start preschool classrooms. This year, Next Door expects to serve about 400 additional Head Start-eligible children.
The building was purchased with existing resources, said Executive Director Carol Keintz. The expanded Head Start services will be supported by a recent $6.9 million grant from Head Start. Next Door was one of four agencies to be awarded the grant to provide Head Start programming in Milwaukee.
“We’re delighted in the confidence placed in our teachers and staff by Head Start,” said Keintz. “The new building will give us the opportunity to provide an amazing school-readiness experience to even more of Milwaukee’s young children and their families and to prepare them for education beyond our walls.”
Head Start is a federally-funded program designed to provide comprehensive early education, nutrition, health and parent involvement services to low-income children. Next Door has been running successful Head Start programs since 1993. Total Head Start enrollment at all of Next Door sites is expected to reach nearly 1000 students this school year.
Renovation work has begun on the 103,000 square-foot building located at the intersection of Capitol and 54th. Plans include 20 additional classrooms, a children’s kitchen, drama/art studio and other multi-purpose rooms. As part of the expansion, more than 100 new teachers and staff will be hired. Many are already in training.
“Next Door has a reputation as being among the very best in its field, as proven by our five-star rating through YoungStar, the state’s rating program,” Keintz said. “Our staff are highly-skilled and very much engaged in partnering with parents to deliver success. We are excited to welcome our new staff and pleased to be adding sustainable jobs to the community.”
To help facilitate the long-term success of students who participate in the programs, Next Door is also working directly with MPS to integrate several Head Start programs into MPS schools. The integration will help create strong systems for transitioning children into schools where siblings may already be located or schools that are high performing.
Parents are encouraged to enroll students as soon as possible by calling Next Door’s central office in Metcalfe Park at 414-562-2929. During construction at the new facility, students will be taught in existing and auxiliary classrooms and transportation will be available to eligible families. Renovation is expected to be complete no later than January 2014.