By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
USD 428 Board approves property acquisition
Move prioritizes early childhood education
usd 428 cuna purchase
Students at USD 428’s newest preschool site, Little Panthers Preschool, enjoy a mentor-reading program with students from GBMS last spring. Housed in a portion of the First Congregational Church, Little Panthers opened in August of 2021. While the site increased capacity for 3 and 4-year-old students by nearly 50 spots, all USD 428 preschool programs are full and have waiting lists.

The USD 428 Board of Education approved the acquisition of the CUNA Mutual Group property, located at 1809 24th Street, at their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. The approved purchase price is $1.3 million, after CUNA Mutual offered a $2.7 million donation off  the valuation price of more than $4 million. Plans for the property are still tentative at this time, but the Board is unified on the top priority of addressing needs for early childhood education.

“The CUNA campus provides a beautiful, well-maintained facility, but also a wonderful  opportunity,” said Khris Thexton, USD 428 superintendent. “We can address our top priority of increasing  capacity for early childhood education and also explore consolidating various departments and services  under one roof to work more efficiently.” 

A survey of incoming students in USD 428 found that more than 30% of students enter  kindergarten without attending a high-quality preschool program. For more than five years, USD 428 has  been exploring ways to create space and increase capacity for preschool programs that serve 3 and 4-yearolds. “We appreciate the long-standing investment CUNA Mutual has made in both its employees and  our community,” said Thexton. “With this transition, their investment will continue to pay-forward a  positive impact for generations to come.” 

USD 428 plans to take possession of the property in December of 2022. Plans for the facility are  still in the exploration phase and will be announced at a future date.

In a statement from Cedric Ellis, executive vice president and chief enterprise services officer of CUNA Mutual Group, said “At CUNA Mutual Group we are committed to supporting the communities in which we serve.  Saying we’re committed doesn’t mean much without action. By offering this property at a greatly  reduced cost to the Great Bend school district, we are leaning into our values and providing the  community with a much-needed resource—the opportunity and space for early childhood  education.” 

For additional information or questions, please contact the USD 428 District Office at 620-793-1500.