With custom hardhats on their heads and shovels in hand, approximately 25 “kid builders” broke ground on the new Small People Preschool 2.0 located in North 32nd. According to Jo Clute, principal and owner, the preschool will embrace all income levels, including those who rely on DES subsidies. Children ages 5 to 12 who currently attend the preschool, presently located on North Greenway Road, recently performed a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new state-of-the art, standalone building.
The groundbreaking, with a plan to be operational by spring 2022, follows a recent announcement by the Biden Administration of the American Families Plan, with an ambitious goal of investing $1.8 trillion in social welfare and family assistance programs to help lift millions of Americans out of poverty.
Maria Ibarra, the preschool’s CEO, expresses her joy about the new school: “I really cannot believe this is finally happening! I have watched multiple generations of families attend and work at our preschool. My own daughters work there and all my grandchildren attend.”
With concrete block, steel construction and a modern, industrial design, the new 10,000 square foot structure will be located a short distance from the original building, which has served as a preschool for almost 60 years. Most teachers at Small People Preschool, a number of whom are former students, have been there for 10 to 20 years. Clute and her staff of 14 serve children ages two weeks through eighth grade with infant care, preschool, and after-school programs.
Clute, who has owned and run the Small People and Small People Two preschools for six-and-a-half years, saw the waning of the pandemic as an opportunity to replace her old, dilapidated building.
“I felt strongly that the children and teachers deserved a new, modern building after all these years. That was really my motivation for taking this big step right now,” Clute explains. “The generous post-COVID SBA incentives made it too good an opportunity to pass up.” She has applied for an SBA loan and is currently awaiting final approval on the building’s permits.
Located at 16232 N. Cave Creek Road, the new Small People Preschool is directly across the street from low-cost health and dental providers. Clute believes her new building will encourage additional growth and investment in the area.
Debra Stark, councilmember from District 3 of the Phoenix City Council, was an invited guest to the ceremonial groundbreaking, along with parents of participating children and the nearby general public.