A new early childhood education center is on schedule to open in August 2018.

The Meramec Valley R-III School District, which plans to construct a new $4 million preschool, is prepared to seek bids for construction of the building.

Construction will be funded with a portion of the $11.75 million bond issue that voters approved in April.

Speaking at the Sept. 20 school board meeting, interim Superintendent Dr. Ed Hillhouse said planning meetings between the district and the architect, Hoener Associates, St. Louis, had been held regarding the new Early Childhood Education Center.

β€œAt this point in the construction time line, the district is ready to request bids for the new construction project,” he said.

The building will house three existing programs now located in the Community School Building at 413 W. Union and the Early Childhood Center at 2001 W. Osage.

The new center will be built on ground owned by the district opposite the middle school and Zitzman Elementary parking lots.

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

Dr. Stephanie Bechard, federal programs coordinator, and Tina Pittman, Meramec Valley Early Childhood Center director, helped design the new state of the art preschool learning center.