Midland, Texas – April 19, 2022 – Midland College is pleased to announce its plan to construct a new $30 million, 60,000 square-foot structure on the MC main campus that will enlarge the capacity of the college’s existing Pre-K Academy and also serve as an academic center for the college’s new Bachelor of Applied Science program in Early Childhood education. The project is made possible by lead gifts of $10 million each from the Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP) and Scharbauer Foundation, grants of $1 million or more by Abell-Hanger Foundation, The Beal Foundation and The Henry Foundation, and generous contributions from individuals, families and businesses in the community. The new Pre-K Academy and Center for Teaching Excellence is expected to open in fall 2023 and will increase the Pre-K Academy capacity from 68 to 288.
“This project is another great example of a public/private collaboration focused on addressing a community need. Scharbauer Foundation is proud to work with Midland College and our generous philanthropic partners to help students and families succeed,” said Grant Billingsley, President and CEO of Scharbauer Foundation, Inc.
In August 2019, MC and MISD partnered to start the Midland College Pre-K in-district charter school with sixty-eight 3- and 4-year-old students. Despite the obstacles of COVID, the academy has been a tremendous success, so much, so that community leaders approached MC officials about expanding its capacity. Now, through major funding from Scharbauer Foundation and Permian Strategic Partnership, the project will kick off with groundbreaking at a later date.
“The Midland College Pre-K Academy and Center for Teaching Excellence addresses two major challenges facing our community—a shortage of quality early childhood opportunities and a shortage of teachers,” MC President Dr. Steve Thomas said. “The new building will help address a dire community need for quality pre-k education. In addition, college students who complete the new Midland College baccalaureate-level program and obtain the Texas Teacher Certification EC-3 will fill a critical gap in the Permian Basin’s teaching pipeline. Midland College provides education and training that help our community grow and prosper, and this project will certainly enable us to continue that endeavor.”
Within the Permian Basin, there are 350 annual openings for preschool teachers. It is estimated that by 2026, that number will increase to 905. There are 325 annual openings for kindergarten teachers in the Permian Basin. By 2026, projections indicate 448 openings. For elementary teachers, there are 2,220 openings in the Permian Basin, and by 2026, it is projected that there will be 2,636.
“This initiative creates a model for combined teacher preparation and early childhood education, two areas of great need in our region and priorities for the PSP,” Tracee Bentley, President and CEO of Permian Strategic Partnership, said. “This is a first of its kind program at a community college, and we have the opportunity to set the standard for others in our region and beyond. The Permian Strategic Partnership is honored to partner with Midland College and all the funding partners who have helped to make this vision a reality.”
“This project is proof of what happens when the community works together,” Dr. Thomas noted. “Together, our purpose is to prepare children for success in kindergarten, and it fits so well with our mission at MC as we prepare and inspire diverse students to start, strive and succeed.”