VERNON — The town has leased out space at the town-owned 375 Hartford Turnpike to a recently opened child care facility.
The facility, The Academy of Arts and Learning, formally opened last week and serves 108 children, town officials said. The lease will last for 10 years, at which point the owners of the facility will have the option of renewing it.
The child care facility uses more than 8,000-square-feet of space once occupied by a YMCA child care facility. The building at 375 Hartford Turnpike, once the site of Vernon Elementary School, also houses town parks and recreation programs, the Public Works Department, and other town government offices.
“We wanted to put this town-owned space to good use and at the same time knew there was a tremendous need in Vernon for additional child care,” Mayor Dan Champagne said last week.
To prepare the space for the new day care, facility owner Pauline Fortier put in extensive renovation work at her own expense, Town Administrator Michael Purcaro said today.
Renovations included painting the walls of the facility and adding a new state-of-the-art kitchen, Purcaro said.
Under the terms of the lease, rent is incremental and increases each year. In year one, the facility will pay the town $64,260, increasing to $69,972 in year five, and $77,112 in year 10.
The town also paid approximately $38,000 to enhance the facility’s safety systems, he said, “as any good landlord should do.” This included door locks, fire detection systems, and lighting, Purcaro said.
Purcaro said the money came from the town enterprise fund, which consists of revenue from leased town properties and is self-sustaining. Taxpayers were not affected at all, he added.
“The academy has made a huge investment in the property and in the town,” Purcaro said.
“Adding new child care spots to Vernon is really a big deal for families and we are pleased to be able to do it,” Fortier said last week.
The renovations took approximately seven weeks to finish, and the facility has passed a state inspection, town officials said.
A ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for the new day care was held on Saturday.
Ben covers Vernon and Stafford for the Journal Inquirer.