Thursday, Mar. 3, 2011 12:00 am

Grinnell, IA -  

The Grinnell College Preschool Laboratory, where many area preschoolers begin their worldly adventures, will have a new home on Park St., with construction to begin this spring. The popular laboratory program is currently housed in a 1970s-style building at 1207 Park St. that was intended to be temporary and now requires new construction to meet current and future educational needs.

The preschool, directed by Karen Veerhusen-Langerud, serves approximately 50 local children each year and holds a five-star rating from the Iowa Department of Human Services, The facility also serves as a real-time laboratory for approximately 100 Grinnell College psychology students who observe and interact with the preschoolers for introductory coursework. An additional 20-40 upper-level students conduct developmental psychology research projects there.

“Our high-quality preschool program has outgrown this aging facility that was only intended to be temporary when it was moved in 40 years ago,” said Marci Sortor, vice president for institutional planning. “Both the community children in attendance and the Grinnell students conducting research there need appropriate space and up-to-date facilities that match the quality of the educational program.”

The planned construction site for the new $1.75 million preschool laboratory is in the 1000 block of Park St., on the south perimeter of the campus, near Drake Community Library. The college will offer the two-story house at 1022 Park St. for sale for $1 with removal in April at owner expense. The current preschool structure will also be removed following construction of the new facility.

A community comment session about the construction plans is set for Thurs., Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. at Drake Community Library. Members of the community who are interested in learning more about the proposed construction plans are invited to attend. Questions about the house removal may be referred to Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community enhancement and engagement,