Recycling takes on another dimension in Canal Winchester when Faith Educare opens the doors this summer on modular classrooms owned by the school district.
One half of the district’s inventory of stand alone space, located behind the middle school on Washington Street, is leased to the Methodist church’s preschool program, which serves children ages three to second grade.
"When the intermediate building was going to be available, they (Faith Educare) expressed an interest and we toured the building," said John Gifford, operations director for Canal Winchester Local Schools. "I suggested they consider the modulars because they could be better secured for their use, versus the bigger spaces within the intermediate building.
"We created a contract and they went from wanting five classrooms to six. It was a real good fit for both parties. They are basically renting the space at $500 a month for each classroom, making minor changes, and using some of our furniture on a long-term basis. Repurposing the building is more about the middle school, and because they are in the modulars, Faith Educare is almost out of the loop of all concerns regarding repurposing because they are in a separate building, although it is tied into the main alarm system."
According to the church’s Web site, Faith Educare began in 1965 when a minister’s wife organized a preschool class so her daughter could interact with others her own age. Then known as the Canal Winchester Nursery School, two teachers led the first class of 12 students.
In 1966, Mary Miles was named director of the school and served in the capacity until she retired 22 years later, when Kim Badger took over the leadership role.
"The school district has just gone out of their way to help us," commented Badger, who served on the Canal Winchester middle school repurposing committee. "They’re very supportive. We always talked about doing something with the school district when they left the building and looked forward to the day when we could work with the district. That day is finally here. We were really growing out of our space at Faith and couldn’t expand the program like we wanted to do. When John (Gifford) suggested the modulars, we jumped at the opportunity. I saw God’s hand at work and things started falling into place."
A new space
By moving into the modulars, which are within walking distance of the church, the Faith Educare program is expanding to include grades three to five and will house all school age classes at the modular complex under the Faith Educare II banner with Karen Zeller serving as director. The preschool program will remain at its original site.
Prior to moving in, according to Badger, Educare paid for building upgrades including the installation of an additional sink for a food permit-although the school does not offer a food preparation operation-and a commercial refrigerator to store student lunches. They also tiled half of one of the rooms, which will serve as a combined dining area and teacher work room.
"We’ll be using the monkey bars on the playground and just put in a new drop zone area to protect the kids," continued Badger. "We bought new tether balls and are putting in a phone line to the building. We hope to have everything done and approved by June 9 in time for summer classes."
With the expansion in space and addition of three grades to the curriculum, enrollment is full for the upcoming session, which Badger likened to a summer day camp experience with a lot of outside activities, and only sporadic spots are open for fall classes.
"Our classes are so full already, that we have a waiting list for people waiting to go on the waiting list," stated Badger. "There are over 200 children in our program and we use a lot of the community in our curriculum. I really think Canal Winchester is all about kids. Our parents are tremendous in their support and understanding as we make the changes and undertake the move and our staff has just been wonderful. I couldn’t ask for more."