PreK-8 Plans and the Penn Children's Center

The Penn Children's Center is scheduled to move twice to make room for construction of the new PreK-8 public school at 42nd and Spruce Streets. First will be a temporary move in December 1999, to smaller quarters within the old Divinity School site. In the fall of 2000, it is likely that the Center will both move and expand in a new facility being planned for the former Asbury Church site in the 3300 block of Chestnut Street. As Executive Vice President John Fry told the Trustees at last Thursday's Budget and Finance Committee meeting, the Center now has 12,000 square feet and cares for some 90 children, with an equal number wait-listed. Designs are being drawn up for a 20,000-square-foot Center on Chestnut Street, which would almost double the Center's capacity and help reduce the wait list and provide a new resource for Penn, Health System and neighborhood children.

Mr. Fry said that no firm cost estimate is yet available, but that cost would not exceed $6 million. He said the Administration will probably bring to the Trustees soon a proposal to authorize $3 million in Penn spending, with negotiations under way to "partner" with an outside firm who would operate the Center on a contract basis­and would fill in the gap up to $6 million. The firm under consideration is Knowledge Beginnings, a subsidiary of the global Knowledge Universe.

PreK-8: Drawings of the design chosen for the new school were unveiled at the Trustees' Neighborhood Intiatives Committee meeting on October 21, its chairman Gilbert Casellas said at the October 22 stated meeting.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 10, November 2, 1999