The Kid’s First Building was a collaboration to build a great facility between Jenison Public Schools, TowerPinkster, and Triangle Associates Inc.
Why this school project? What was the driving force behind the plan for an early education center for Jenison Public Schools?
Tom Tenbrink (Superintendent, Jenison Public Schools): When I started as Superintendent at Jenison Public Schools in 2003, we were in the midst of budget cuts. I had to make the tough decision to close an old one-section building that wasn’t serving us the way we needed it to. I had the vision to create a new early childhood center, which our district desperately needed. The needs for this building were greater than what the one-section building could hold. What eventually became the Kid’s First Building is a vital part of our community and has helped Jenison Public School District grow immensely.
How did the Kid’s First Building project begin? How did it evolve after involving both Triangle Associates and TowerPinkster?
Tom Tenbrink (Superintendent, Jenison Public Schools): We were able to purchase a significant amount of property for a great price that allowed us to build a bigger structure than originally anticipated in a very old cornfield. Our Spanish Immersion Program at the time was split between two buildings. We wanted to join that program together, so we considered moving them into the old one-section building. Triangle did some estimates on how much it would cost to improve the old building to bring it up to where we needed it for that program, but after involving TowerPinkster as well, they came together and realized that a different plan may work better. Triangle and TowerPinkster suggested that we instead build a two-story building that could house both our Spanish Immersion Program, El Puente, and our early childhood students, and it would only cost slightly more than the expense of upgrading the one-section building.