The Meramec Valley R-III School District is ready to begin construction on a new preschool made possible by voter approval of Prop K last April.

Acting at the Jan. 16 meeting, the board of education approved a bid from Wright Construction Services, St. Peters, to construct the early childhood center east of Zitzman Elementary School.

The late Doris Hoffman, longtime district teacher, donated the property for the new school.

The new preschool building will serve students age 3 to 5 and will contain five or six classrooms, an enclosed playground, special education rooms and a gross motor room for physical development.

The district currently has three types of preschool programs, including an early childhood special education, preschool for at-risk students and a tuition-based preschool. The three programs combined are serving 183 students in the current school year.

Dr. Stephanie Bechard, federal programs coordinator, and Tina Pittman, Meramec Valley Early Childhood Center (MVECC) director, helped define the learning areas of a new building.

Total construction cost of the project is $4,363,600, which includes a base bid and three alternates. The project is being funded with the  $11.7 million no-tax-increase bond issue that voters approved in April 2017.

Students from three preschool programs will attend classes in the new school building beginning in August 2018.