Former principal walks the halls of Jane Long Early Learning Center


ABILENE, Texas - Abilene ISD celebrated the completion of Long Early Learning Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

The old Jane Long Elementary was renovated and turned into a preschool program.

After the ribbon cutting, former principal Preston Parker toured the renovated campus. Parker was the principal at Jane Long Elementary from 1976 to 1985. He chose to come back to see all the new changes since he was principal.

"Oh, my office does look quite different," Parker said. "When I came in the front, of course it's completely different at the front. I recognized the cafeteria but then when I got past that and came [towards the new building] most everything started to look different."

An additional building has been added to the school, bringing the number of classrooms to 45.

"This particular building has 20 classrooms and four motor lab rooms, plus a family literacy center, and a family and community partnership suite," said Early Childhood Programs Director Jenny Putnam.

Other parts of the campus, like the cafeteria and library, were also renovated, and now there are three playgrounds. Parker said this campus has changed a lot since the '80s.

"They're getting opportunities now that we did not have back when I was a principal," Parker said. "It's a tremendous feeling to me to see what progress is being made."

Nearly 850 students aged 3 years old and 4 years old attend Long Early Learning Center. The renovation project cost approximately $8.8 million and was part of the 2013 bond project.