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GRCC breaks ground on preschool lab

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Grand Rapids Community College has broken ground on a $7.2 million Laboratory Preschool.

Grand Rapids Community College has been educating child development educators at its Laboratory Preschool located in the basement of Grand Rapids First United Methodist Church since 1974.

The creator of the program, Phyllis Fratzke, will have her name installed on the side of the new state-of-the-art Laboratory Preschool.

An active, hand-on learning facility, it will also serve children ages 6 weeks to 6 years of age.

“The classrooms will also have connecting observation areas so that some students can come in and watch what’s going on in the classroom and be able to do observations.”

That’s Becky Brinks, Director of GRCC’s Child Development Program.

Brinks explains there’s a growing need for preschool educators.

“We have seen some real expansions especially in availability of 4-year old programs due to the state’s expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program.”

Lab instructors who are members of the faculty will lead. GRCC says it is also wants to “expand early childhood educational support for families and caregivers in low-income Grand Rapids neighborhoods in an effort to better prepare children for kindergarten entry.

“Those kids who are most at-risk for educational failure due to things such as high poverty, racial disparities, linguistic isolation, we really want to meet a larger pool of that particular population.”

Construction on the 22,000-square-foot building will begin early fall.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.