Expansion of Community Nursery School nears completion

Friday, May 30, 2008 | 4:33 p.m. CDT; updated 9:47 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The expansion and remodeling of the Community Nursery School at 1511 Hinkson Ave. is nearly finished and expected to be ready in August. The remodeling of the school will enable it to increase capacity from 68 to 88 children, hire more staff and contain additional classrooms for its growing numbers of 3- to 5-year-olds.

In June 2006, the school board of directors began raising funds for the three-phase remodeling project. Tom Rose, the school’s treasurer, said the school raised between $130,000 and $140,000.

“We applied for grants from foundations like the Family Foundation, Boone County Community Trust, (and) Electric Community Trust,” Rose said. “We just became aware of various foundations, pursued them, and were successful.” The school also raised about $8,000 from the school’s annual Mary Lee Johnston Community Scholarship fundraiser.

Executive Director Meg Bartlett said the parents’ support has been a huge help as well.

For example, when parents found out the school needed a new storage shed that would cost $17,000, they all pitched in and purchased it for the school.

Bartlett said the first phase of the project involved renovating what was formerly the infant-toddler room, which now has two classrooms for 2-year-olds. Phase one was finished and ready for use in January.

Phase two, which also has been completed, involved renovation of the toddler room. Modifications such as putting a separate sink next to the diaper station have been made so the infants can now be housed in the same room as the toddlers.

Phase three is still under construction. The front section of the school will contain additional classrooms for 3- to 5-year-olds when the project is complete.

The school consists of three buildings and currently serves 68 children, the maximum it is licensed to hold. There are 16 infants, 16 toddlers, 16 2-year-olds and 20 3- to 5-year-olds. When phase three is complete the school will be licensed to hold a maximum of 88 children, Bartlett said.

The final work is expected to be done by late August so the children can start when the regular public schools do, Bartlett said.

The Community Nursery School was started in 1952 by the Social Society, later renamed the United Way.

The tuition fees are based on a family’s monthly gross income and the age of the child attending. Tuition ranges from $87 to $180 per week.

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