WAYNESVILLE, Mo. — The newly-remodeled Parker Educational Center, formerly the Parker Fine Arts Building, was dedicated on June 1, to “the education of our youngest students and to the service of our community,” said Dr. Brian Henry, Waynesville R-VI School District superintendent.
The Parker Educational Center — located next to Waynesville Middle School — will house a preschool, and also features community rooms and an area for school board meetings that may be reserved when not in use by the district.
“Access to early childhood education is so critical for our community,” said Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena during the dedication ceremony. “Many of our service members either arrive at Fort Leonard Wood with young children or start families while they’re stationed here. They need a safe place where they know that their children will be taken care of. I know Parker Preschool will be that place. Our families know when their kids are part of the Tiger team, they’ll be in an environment where they will be supported and nurtured. Our service members will be able to focus on their jobs and missions knowing that their children are in amazing hands.”
A Defense Community Infrastructure Program grant helped fund the remodeling costs. Col. Patrick Hogeboom, military liaison with the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation, flew in from Washington, D.C., to speak during the event.
“This is a good example of the strong relationship that exists between the community, the school district and Fort Leonard Wood,” Hogeboom said. “This project helps address the quality-of-life issues that are so important to our military families. We are proud to have been a partner in this project.”
Paul Shultz II, president of the Waynesville R-VI Board of Education, said the building will always have a special place in his heart — his grandfather was on the school board when the building was built and dedicated 36 years ago.
“Today, we re-dedicate this building to our preschool students and community for generations to come,” he said.