Middleton-Cross Plains celebrates renovated Cardinal Academy, Early Learning Center

MIDDLETON, Wis. — The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District gave a sneak peek of the newly renovated Early Learning Center and Cardinal Academy on Monday.

The improvements were part of construction projects approved by voters in a 2018 referendum. This project was completed last month.

The district took the facility that used to house Clark Street Community School and transformed it into two unique spaces, Cardinal Academy and the Early Learning Center, with a brand new playground, lockers, restroom adaptations and stronger flooring. There are also two separate entrances, so the new spaces are independent of each other

Cardinal Academy will serve students ages 18-21, teaching vocational, adult independent living and social-emotional skills. The new facility includes a kitchen space and a mock apartment area with a washer and dryer.

“We all have to know how to kind of plan for weekly meals, prep meals, purchase items needed for meals,” Student Services Coordinator Becky Poehls said. “That’s all embedded there.”

Poehls said that many Academy students come and go throughout the day because of different responsibilities like jobs. The new facility makes sure they can do that without disrupting classes.

The Early Learning Center will allow for early childhood and 4K classes, the first time that the district has had its own school-based 4K center. The new space includes chairs, tables, sinks and bathrooms that are built to better fit young learners.

“This allows them to just be able to go hang up their coat by themselves and go wash their hands by themselves,” Coordinator Jen Reynolds said. “Learn those basic skills without necessarily needing adult assistance.”

The district now has space to hold morning and afternoon 4K classes five days per week, and morning and afternoon early childhood programs three days per week.