Paducah Head Start is currently in the Cooper Whiteside Elementary building, which sits in a flood prone area that experienced widespread flooding from torrential rains from February 21 to March 21, 2018 with FEMA declaring a natural disaster on April 26, 2018. Leaks in the building continued to present themselves almost daily during this time. The damage was exacerbated when constant rains came from October 7 to October 16, 2018 due to Hurricane Michael. Additionally, the spring of 2019 Paducah rains pounded the area from March to May 2019.
At the current building some students are half-day and some are full-day but in the new building all students will have the option of full-day services. The new building will be able to accommodate up 320 students.
Lewis said there will also be a dedicated space for students who qualify for transitional services which will include office space for Transitional Services Director Heather Anderson, a pantry with food and essential supplies, and washers and dryers. Lewis also hopes that the health clinic in the new building can be focused more specifically on child pediatrics.
“A comprehensive service model is what I really want to put in place in the new building,” said Lewis. Our goal is to have the new building be a ‘one-stop shop’ for all the services a preschooler might need. We want Paducah Head Start to be the place where our students and their families can receive everything they need to build a solid foundation for their lives.”
Lewis said there are also plans to include a dedicated sensory room for special needs children and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) dedicated to STEAM initiatives.
Tentative plans are for the building to be completed by 2022.