New early childhood education program receives committee OK

The construction of the new facility would become the new location for Mitchell's Head Start early education program.

Crews work in the area where the new Head Start education facility is proposed to be built, located along Commerce Street near the Coca-Cola distribution plant. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

A construction company’s plan to build a new facility to house an early childhood education program received support from the Mitchell Planning and Zoning Commission.

To advance the building plan, Paul Groenweg, of Groenweg Construction, applied for a conditional use permit to allow the 4,515-square-foot building to become the new location for Mitchell’s Head Start early education program. The Planning Commission on Monday unanimously approved the conditional use permit.

“They are going to be housing the Head Start program, because they are going to be moving from the North Kimball Street location,” said City Planner Neil Putnam. “I believe Groenweg Construction is still going to remain the owner of the property.”

The new Head Start facility is proposed to be constructed along West 15th Avenue, near the Coca-Cola distribution plant on the northwest side of the city. Pending the Mitchell City Council’s approval of the conditional use permit at its April 19 meeting, Mitchell’s Head Start facility would move from its current 2200 N. Kimball St. location.

Head Start is a South Dakota-based nonprofit organization that provides educational services for children who are in the early stages of development. The program has facilities throughout the state, serving 16 counties, including Davison County and the surrounding area.


According to the city’s building inspector John Hegg, the building was initially going to be a built on spec, meaning the construction company builds the facility with features that appeal to the buyer. However, once Groenweg informed the city that the Head Start program was seeking to move into the facility, Hegg said it was going to require a more rigorous design plan.

“I did write a full review for it, and I explained that if he builds it for (Head Start), it has to have extra doors, American Disabilities Act access and all the fire codes you need for schools,” Hegg said. “Basically it’s a small school, and you have to treat it as such for the building code side of things. ”

Considering Mitchell’s Head Start program has a relatively small number of children enrolled each year, Hegg said the parking lot would have a total of nine parking spaces.

“The biggest class is like 16 to 20, but there are usually around four to five kids in each class. So the parking lot doesn’t need to be very big at all,” he said.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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