The doors to the Brainerd School District's Learning Center opened last week.
The center houses the Early Childhood Family Education program, the Area Education Center and the Middle Level Alternative Program. The center was built in the former Super One Foods building in east Brainerd.
Paul Bloom, Brainerd Community Education director, said the facility will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday.
The grand opening for the center will be sometime next month. The exact time and date have not been determined yet.
Nicole Reis of Baxter played with her son, Isaiah, during the infant class at the Early Childhood Family Education program at the Brainerd School District's Learning Center, which opened this week on the east side of Brainerd. The building, newly remodeled, also houses the Area Education Center and the Middle Level Alternative Program.
There are five full-time equivalent and eight part-time early childhood teachers who serve about 460 children and 520 parents for this school year. There are 21 full-time equivalent and eight part-time AEC teachers who serve about 350 students, including middle level alternative and Adult Basic Education students.
The facility will include the food service office, which is currently at Riverside Elementary School. Bloom said this office will be at the site temporarily.
The school district entered into an agreement with the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority in January to finance the project.
"We couldn't have put this together without the HRA," said Bloom. "The HRA does not do new construction and the project could have cost more if we would have built a new facility."
Early Childhood Family Education program instructor Laurie Pelkey read to Isaac Hayes during class at the Brainerd School District's Learning Center this week.
The school district will lease the former Super One Foods building for 20 years from the HRA and then the district will have the option to buy the building for $1. The HRA will oversee the ownership of the facility and will make sure the lease payments by the district are made.
The HRA issued a $4.33 million bond for the building. The district will lease the building for $268,000 annually for 20 years.
The building was redesigned by Stegner Phelps Architects of Brainerd, and Construction Analysis Management of Brainerd was the construction manager for the project.
The ECFE program moved from the East Brainerd Mall. The lease for the mall site expired July 31. The program used 8,000 square feet in the mall and the new site will provide 13,000 square feet.
The AEC was housed at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Brainerd and used 7,000 square feet. It now will have 14,000 square feet, including space for the middle level program.
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