New Parkway Early Childhood Center Planned for South Area

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  • The Parkway Board of Education has requested that district administration reevaluate certain aspects of the proposed Early Childhood Center, which is planned for the south part of the district, where unmet demand for our early childhood education programs is highest. For now, the project is on pause. 

    Thanks to Parkway voters, a $32 million facility has been under development to accommodate all children with inclusive play areas and learning space. It will allow for Parkway to serve more children, and it will also allow for early childhood classrooms at Wren Hollow, Barretts, Oak Brook and Carman Trails to relocate to a facility designed for preschool-aged children and operate under the same roof. The proposed location is field space on Wren Avenue in Manchester, between Southwest Middle School and Wren Hollow Elementary. We are excited to meet the needs of more Parkway families and provide more high-quality learning opportunities for our youngest students.

    The highlights

    The proposed center would have 13 classrooms plus feature outdoor play and learning space. The location on Wren Avenue would provide the most outdoor green space of any other preschool program in our district. 

    In addition, there would be space for services and programs including: 

    • Four therapy/intervention rooms 
    • Occupational therapy and physical therapy
    • Gym and storm shelter
    • Motor room 
    • Play-based screening
    • Support offices, conference and meeting space
    • Nurse’s health area
    • Office space for district staff currently leasing office space in Creve Coeur

    We are fortunate to have additional green space around this campus which will allow our students next door at Southwest Middle to use fields and green space all connected to the neighboring South High campus.

    How we got here.

    Our decision to build a second early childhood center, specifically in the south area of Parkway, was based on:

    • The historic and increasing high demand for early learning in Parkway
      • For decades, Parkway has turned away 250-550 families each year due to a lack of space in our preschool and early childhood programs.
      • Of the satellite locations, Wren Hollow Elementary in the South area historically has the most students on waiting lists for preschool each year. 
    • Data and research summarized in a 2021-22 report as well as from a 2021 market analysis and demographic study

      • The 63021 zip code is the area of greatest need.  
      • Almost half of non-district childcare and pre-K providers do not serve children with special needs, or exclude those with more challenging behaviors.
      • Overcrowding at our Early Childhood Center near West High and Wren Hollow’s preschool classrooms would be alleviated by building a new center in the South area. 
      • The study is available here
    • Community feedback and support for high-quality early learning 

      • In 2022, thousands of Parkway staff, parents and residents identified a new early childhood center as a district priority.
      • In 2022, 76,000 Parkway voters approved a no-tax-rate-increase bond issue - Proposition S - to fund the new early childhood center.

    What's new

    On April 11, the Parkway Board of Education discussed the proposed Early Childhood Center and considered community feedback regarding traffic and green space concerns. 

    Parkway is waiting on the City of Manchester’s interpretation and recommendations from the preliminary traffic study submitted to the city in March. Once feedback and recommendations are received, Parkway will then take those recommendations into consideration as it relates to the project.  The board directed Parkway administration to reevaluate aspects of the proposed project.

    In March, Parkway received the preliminary results of a traffic impact study. The study and its recommendations will help us make improvements and ensure the safety of students, families and the community.

    The City of Manchester is currently reviewing the findings and Parkway is considering the recommendations. It's important to know that the study and its results are still preliminary and are subject to change.

    Questions? Submit them here. 

Questions and answers by subject area

  • Site

  • Traffic

  • Green space

  • Transparency

  • Safety

  • Environment

March 26 Community Meeting

  • April 2024 -- On March 26, more than 150 community members filled the commons area at Southwest Middle School to provide feedback on Parkway's plans to build an additional Early Childhood Center.

    The community meeting provided answers to questions, created a deeper understanding and gathered input that will be considered by the Board of Education and Parkway administration in future decisions regarding the project.

    Those who attended heard a presentation led by subject matter experts, and then were asked to share feedback during facilitated table discussions on the following questions. This is what we heard. 

Community Meeting Themes

  • What surprised you?

  • What do you like most about the plan?

  • What concerns do you have?

  • What suggestions do you have to make the plan better or what additional questions do you have that were not answered?