After a year of silence, the grounds at Bauer Elementary will soon echo again with the sound of children.
The Bauer campus, which has stood vacant since last May, is expected to be back in the business of educating young people, this time as the location for the local Head Start program.
Big Spring Independent School District trustees approved donating the campus to Greater Opportunities of the Permian Basin, which oversees Head Start operations in Big Spring, during their monthly board meeting.
Head Start is a federal program that promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families. For the past several years, it has been located at the former Lakeview campus in northwest Big Spring.
Bauer, formerly known as North Ward Elementary, first opened in the 1930s and remained in use as a BSISD campus until May. With the impending opening of four new elementary campuses, however, district officials decided to close the school, which has been vacant for the past 10 months.
GOPB officials approached the Big Spring ISD officials late in 2012, inquiring about the possibility of acquiring Bauer for its Head Start operations. After months of inspections and negotiations, the project was officially green-lighted by trustees.
BSISD Assistant Superintendent Danny Ferrell said the donation will benefit both the district and Head Start.
“With those four new elementary campuses … we didn't have any plans for the building's use, and, as you know, the longer a building sits empty, the faster downhill it goes,” Ferrell said. “The biggest advantage to this is that it gives Head Start a newer, bigger building for its program. We saw it as a great opportunity to help another learning institution in Big Spring.”
Ferrell said GOPB officials hope to begin operations at Bauer at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.