Suburban St. Louis early childhood center to break ground on new home November 1, 2016

Urban Sprouts Child Development Center is working on big projects — both inside and outside of the classroom. While the suburban St. Louis school works on constructing its new home, students at the school are using the project as inspiration. During the buildout, students and teachers have combined their ideas for the design of the new school with additional information about the construction process to create detailed renditions out of classroom materials.

When it opens next spring, Urban Sprouts’ new facility will allow the early education provider to accommodate 128 children — an 82 percent increase over the number currently served —  and create 10 new full-time jobs.

IFF provided Urban Sprouts with $2.2 million in financing, including new markets tax credits, to buy and renovate an existing 15,000-square-foot building and refinance existing debt. The move also will allow the organization to consolidate its operations into one facility in University City, a suburb just west of central St. Louis.

IFF is serving as owner’s representative on the project and spent several months conducting site selection and financial feasibility studies for Urban Sprouts before recommending this location.

The project’s first phase involves a new main level with learning studios, water rooms, light and shadow rooms, a clay and kiln-firing room, large classrooms, and a piazza where children, teachers, and parents can gather. The second phase will focus on the lower level and will launch once additional financing is secured.

Urban Sprouts formed in 2009 as an early education center with 10 children. It is the only mixed-income Reggio Emilia center in Missouri. This approach constantly encourages children to investigate, question, and explore the world around them. Urban Sprouts also is one of only 21 early education centers in St. Louis accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Today, it serves 80 children, with a waiting list of 300.