The Dubuque Community School District is pleased to announce plans to establish a preschool center in Dubuque’s industrial center that will provide access to the district’s high-quality preschool programming while offering streamlined access to wraparound childcare services.

Pending School Board approval, plans call for the District to begin offering preschool programming in the new center in fall 2024, while also retaining preschool classrooms in each of its elementary schools.

The project, to be developed on the site of the former Medline facility at 7900 Chavenelle Road, is a partnership between the Dubuque Community Schools, Dubuque Initiatives and the Dubuque Community Y, which will offer wraparound childcare on site. The building was purchased in December by Dubuque Initiatives.

“Development of this center is truly an example of community partnership at work,” said Superintendent Amy Hawkins. “Partners came around the table with a goal of addressing Dubuque’s childcare needs and aligning them with strong early childhood education. The result will be a combination of services that gives families a new kind of flexibility with preschool and wraparound care seamlessly integrated in one state-of-the-art location.”

As part of the plan, the District would renovate an 18,000-square-foot portion of the facility into a preschool center with space for up to 10 preschool classrooms, as well as student common areas, sensory areas, meal preparation and services spaces, student support spaces and administrative offices. The facility will also include a dedicated preschool playground outdoors and a dedicated entryway.

This new preschool center will be adjacent to a full-service childcare center operated by the Dubuque Community Y, allowing for a seamless transition for preschool students moving from or into wraparound care before and after preschool.

“One of the goals of the Dubuque Community Y is to establish partnerships whenever possible to serve the needs of the community in the best and most efficient way possible,” said Tony Calabrese, president and CEO of the Dubuque Community Y. “We look forward to this collaborative opportunity with Dubuque Initiatives and the District to serve more children and families.”

Initial design for the preschool portion of the space was funded through the Iowa Department of Education BELIEF (Blended Early Learning in Educational Foundations) Grant, which offered to give school districts and communities support to start evidence-based, customized early childhood and preschool programs that blend childcare and quality early learning experiences for children under five.

“Dubuque Initiative’s goal is to create a world-class facility for childcare and early learning that is uniquely designed to support the growth of the regional workforce,” said Kevin Lynch, president of Dubuque Initiatives. “We look forward to working with the District and Dubuque Community Y to expand preschool and childcare options for our workforce families.”