Buttonwillow Breaks Ground on Early Childhood Education Center

Thursday February 15, 2024

Buttonwillow Union School District broke ground this week on a new early childhood education and resource center. When it’s finished, the building will be home to a preschool classroom, a transitional kindergarten (TK) classroom, and the district’s community resource center.

Superintendent Hiedi Witcher says there’s a huge need for childcare and early childhood education in Buttonwillow and this center is a step in the right direction.

“It lets our community know that we really value early childhood education,” she said. “We’re making it a priority and giving them a dedicated space for our youngest learners.”

The district previously held TK and kindergarten classes together in the same building. Now, they have a dedicated space for their TK students.

District officials break ground on new center.

“This is really important to be able to provide our 3, 4, and 5-year-olds with an opportunity to learn, and in an environment that’s conducive to their learning,” said retired Buttonwillow Superintendent Stuart Packard.

Witcher agrees, saying: “They’ll have their own playgrounds, they’ll have their own areas. It’ll provide a safer setting for our younger students.”

In addition to TK and preschool classes, the new building will be the location for the district’s parent training program, which coaches parents on how to best work with their children at home.

“We know that in order for our kids to be successful when they get older, they have to have that strong foundation early on,” Witcher said.

Packard, who initiated plans for the new building before his retirement in 2023, says they also needed a larger space for their resource center to better serve the needs of the community.

Witcher says the resource center provides so much help to the community, including emergency food and clothing supplies, legal and tax services, and other assistance that parents may not normally have easy access to. 

The district is using funds from a number of sources to complete the center, including district funding and Community Schools grants. 

“We were able to build a 4,800 square foot building without even going to the community for a bond,” Packard said.

Construction is projected to be completed in August, just before the start of the new school year.

“It’s going to be something else that the kids and the parents and the whole community will be proud of,” Packard said.

By Katie Avery

By Katie Avery

Katie Avery joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2023 as a Communications Specialist. As a former journalist and marketing professional, her passions include media and storytelling. Before joining KCSOS, Avery worked for various local TV stations as well as the health care industry.