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School Board approves early childhood academy in Chester

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Posted at 5:53 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 17:55:19-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Chesterfield County School Board has approved a proposal for an early childhood academy that will be housed inside the old Harrowgate Elementary School in Chester.

In a Tuesday meeting, the School Board agreed to invest $3.9 million to retrofit the old school into the new pre-kindergarten academy.

The new pre-K academy, slated to open in fall 2021, will serve students from 12 elementary schools in the eastern and southern portions of Chesterfield County.

This includes students from: Bellwood, Bensley, Beulah, Marguerite Christian, Curtis, Ecoff, Enon, Gates, Harrowgate, Salem Church, Elizabeth Scott and Wells elementary schools.

School officials say they currently serves 987 pre-kindergarten students. With the creation of the academy, approximately 480 more students could be served.

“Due to existing space constraints, there is an unmet need in our community for prekindergarten services. This new academy will help us better meet that need and serve additional pre-kindergarten students, while also freeing up operational space within existing schools for anticipated student enrollment growth,” School Board Chair Debbie Bailey said.

The School Board is now soliciting potential school names for consideration. Residents can choose to support the proposed name referenced during Board discussions (Chester Early Childhood Academy) or submit their own recommendations by November 20.

The School Board will announce finalists at its December 8 business meeting. A vote on a formal name is scheduled for the Board's first meeting in January 2021.

The school is projected to have an open house for pre-kindergarten enrollment in April 2021.