The University of Nebraska at Kearney has begun construction of an early childhood center.
The university says the LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck Early Childhood Education Center will be a $7.8 million, 19,900-square-foot building that will serve up to 176 children, from infants to age 6.
The facility will more than double the capacity of the existing Child Development Center housed in the Otto Olsen building, which is slated for demolition following completion of three separate buildings.
The project will be the first academic building on University Village. University Chancellor Doug Kristensen says the education center will be the state’s most innovative early childhood center.
The center hopes to become a model for exemplary early childhood education, early childhood educator preparation, and research. In addition to training undergraduate and graduate students and integrating coursework from the university's academic colleges and University of Nebraska Medical Center, the facility will serve Kearney-area children and families with developmentally appropriate early education for a diverse population.
LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck of Omaha has been an advocate for early childhood education for nearly 50 years. Inspired by the Montessori teaching method, she opened Omaha’s first Montessori Educational Center in 1968 and later added seven locations and opened schools in Denver and Fort Worth.