A portable building was moved through Skowhegan to the Skowhegan Area High School campus on U.S. Route 2 as the first step in establishing a new early-childhood program on the campus.

The program is arranged by the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program and is funded through a $6 million Early Headstart Childcare Partnership Grant from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, which was announced in April.

The rest of the building will be moved Friday morning at the same time, officials said Wednesday.

The early childhood education program will add seven employees to the district, including teachers, classroom aides and an early childhood education coach, KVCAP officials said in April when the grant was announced.

The program will be modeled on and run by Educare Central Maine, which has a similar program in Waterville and serves more than 200 children, most of whom are from low-income families and considered to be at risk.

In School Administrative District 54 — which serves families in the Somerset County towns of Canaan, Cornville, Norridgewock, Mercer, Skowhegan and Smithfield — 72 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, which is based on household income, according to the Maine Department of Education. Statewide, an average of 46.6 percent of students are eligible.

A 2014 county health ranking report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that 26 percent of those under the age of 18 in Somerset County are living in poverty. That report found a statewide average of 20 percent living in poverty.

The federal money will be awarded over the next four years and will be used for programs in four counties — Kennebec, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset — although about $4 million will go to the Skowhegan area, said Kathy Colfer, director of child and family services for KVCAP in April.