GISD hosts groundbreaking ceremony for renovated Early Childhood Programs & Services building

FLINT, Michigan — On Monday, June 17, the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for its expansion and renovation of the Early Childhood Programs & Services (ECPS) building at 5089 Pilgrim Road in Flint.

The public ceremony starts at 10 a.m. and features special guests Principal Nancy Bartholomew, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, Steven Polega, and Superintendent Dr. Steven Tunnicliff. 

GISD Superintendent Dr. Steven Tunnicliff says the project has been planned for over a year and required consultation with experts and visits to newly constructed and renovated similar facilities across the state. 

“We forecasted the need for expansion and renovations in the 2021-2022 school year, spending the last 16 months on studying the functional and design aspects to meet the unique needs of the program,” says Dr. Tunnicliff. “A core team was established that consisted of administration, staff from ECPS, architects, and construction management. Many hours were spent identifying the needs of our students which helped make informed decisions on the facility needs. Additionally, we consulted with experts that have experience in designing educational facilities for students with special needs.”

The state-of-the-art building plans include 12 new classrooms, therapy rooms, parking areas, bus and parent drop-off loops, a new library, music rooms, a nursing office, a renovated outdoor playground space, and more. The mission is to provide additional services and resources to meet the needs of the youngest children impacted with special needs in Genesee County.

“This facility supports students from across all of Genesee County, which means we have students from each of the 21 local school districts attending ECPS, and 13% of the current students at ECPS are Flint residents,” says Dr. Tunnicliff. 

ECPS utilizes highly-trained teachers and staff to provide specialized instruction and ancillary services like occupational, physical, speech, and language therapy, and other services. 

“It is a true community that comes together daily to support our youngest students first exposed to a school community,” says Dr. Tunnicliff. 

The renovations and expansions cost an estimated $20 million, partially funded through proceeds from the sale of a non-voted bond approved by the Board of Education, and by GISD special education capital projects funding. 

“Through thoughtful planning, we can create this state-of-the-art building without increasing any tax burden on our community or our local school districts,” explained Dr. Tunnicliff. 

Dr. Tunnicliff says he is excited about some of the classroom upgrades and enhancements in particular. 

“Students with sensory integration needs are often significantly impacted by different hues or intensity of lighting,” he says. “As part of the expansion and renovations, each classroom will be equipped with light control systems that can be adjusted according to each individual’s needs. This allows our students the opportunity to maximize their learning in an environment that supports them.” 

Even the furniture pieces were hand-picked to meet students’ sensory needs, to increase learning outcomes. Other planned renovations include canopies at the bus loop and parent drop-off loop, to help shelter students from the elements. 

“Lastly, and most importantly, the renovations will include numerous safety enhancements to ensure students, staff, and families are learning, working, and engaging in the safest possible environment,” says Dr. Tunnicliff.

To learn more about the Genesee Intermediate School District and Early Childhood Programs and Services, visit:
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Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.