The Next Door early childhood education center, a nonprofit organization that provides early education opportunities to families in Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods, has acquired the former Northwest General Hospital building as the demand for its services continues to increase.
The 103,000-square-foot building, located at 5310 Capitol Dr. in Milwaukee, will allow the nonprofit to expand its Head Start programming with space for new preschool classrooms.
The Head Start program, which Next Door has been offering since 1993, is a federally-funded initiative that supports low-income children with early education, nutrition, health and parent involvement services.
During this school year, Next Door will likely add about 400 children to Head Start. Total Head Start enrollment at all of its center locations is projected to touch close to 1,000 students.
In addition to 20 classrooms, the new space will house a children’s kitchen, a drama and art studio and multi-purpose rooms. Renovation of the facility has already begun.
The transaction was funded with existing resources, according to Carol Keintz, executive director of Next Door. Expanded services will be subsidized by a $6.9 million grant that Head Start recently awarded to the organization. Next Door was one of four agencies to receive grant money from the federal program to orchestrate programming for Milwaukee families.
“We’re delighted in the confidence placed in our teachers and staff by Head Start,” said Keintz. “The new building will give us the opportunity to provide an amazing school-readiness experience to even more of Milwaukee’s young children and their families and to prepare them for education beyond our walls.”
Next Door plans to hire more than 100 new instructors and staff members to accommodate the growth effort and also has plans to work with Milwaukee Public Schools to introduce Head Start into MPS in support of the long-term success of its students.