First-of-its-kind preschool at Midland College gets shiny new digs

First-of-its-kind preschool at Midland College gets shiny new digs

A first-of-its-kind preschool that operates out of the Midland College campus just got new digs that will expand local efforts to fill gaps in early education.

The Midland College Pre-K Academy and Center for Teaching Excellence, a state-of-the-art two-story, 60,000 square-foot facility located on the main MC campus, was recently completed, according to MC.  The project expands on a partnership launched between MC and Midland ISD in August 2019 to start the Midland College Pre-K in-district charter school. The school originally began with 68 students ages three and four. It has been such a success, even during the pandemic, that community leaders approached MC officials about expanding the capacity, according to the college.

The new center will accomodate a total of 85 seats in classes for 3-year-olds, which is 51 more seats than previously, and 100 total seats in classes for 4-year-olds, or 66 more than before, according to MISD superintendent Dr. Stephanie Howard.

Beyond classrooms, cafeteria and other areas for pre-schoolers, the campus also includes offices for MC’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education and Associate of Arts in Teaching programs, according to MC.  The campus provides hands-on training to MC students, with the aim of addressing a local early education teacher shortage.

“The Midland College Pre-K Academy partnership between Midland College and Midland ISD allows us to merge our resources and build upon a pillar of our strategic plan to enhance the student experience by creating a unique learning environment that will set a new standard for early education in our region,” Dr. Howard said.

The project was made possible thanks to $10 million grants from both Scharbauer Foundation, Inc. and the Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP), a coalition of 20 energy companies investing in a wide variety of initiatives aiming to improve quality of life in the Permian Basin.

A number of other generous foundations and contributors supported the building of the over $30 million academy.

Dr. Howard added that the academy can currently only serve 5 percent of eligible 3-year-olds in Midland.

“…And we look forward to the future when even more seats are made available,” she said.