Eagle preschool needs to find a new location
March 9, 2016
EAGLE — Sunshine Mountain Preschool, which has operated from facilities at the United Methodist Church of the Eagle Valley since 1992, is looking for a new home.
That news came as a surprise to Sunshine Mountain parents this week when they received a letter from the church council setting a June 1 closing date for the current site.
"Closing is actually not the right word. What we hope is we can get them relocated," said Steve Mallory, a member of the church council.
Mallory said the church requires some renovations to meet handicapped access needs and that is what is spurring the Sunshine Mountain Preschool action.
"It's been a long process of discussion with the preschool board and director but it came as a bit of a surprise to the parents," said Mallory.
Parent Karen Harkins echoed that observation.
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"Sunshine Mountain Preschool in Eagle has been a stellar preschool in the valley for over 20 years," said Harkins. "The school is now, to an extent, being forced to leave their location that is tied in with the church they are in, which means closing their doors. "
Harkins said 32 children and 70 parents would be impacted by the move. But, she added, with time a solution may be found.
"As parents, we just had a meeting with the church last week regarding the June 1 closing date. We were given no information (beforehand) and are begging the church to extend their date until we, as parents, can find a new location."
A Valleywide Need
Mallory agreed that there is a need for preschool options valleywide and stressed that the church wants to be part of the solution for Sunshine Mountain. He noted the church proposed locating a modular building at its eastern parking lot, next to the preschool playground, as a dedicated space for the school.
However, that option is looking a bit pricey for the preschool, which currently pays only $500 per month in rent to the church.
Harkins said parents have approached other churches in the area to see if there is a congregation willing to take on the school.
"We just need more time," she said. "We are going to have to have help from the community to pull this off."
The church council and Sunshine Mountain Preschool parents plan to meet March 14 to discuss the situation.
In anticipation of that meeting, Mallory said the council is open to the idea of extending the June 1 deadline.
"We understand that the parents were kind of out of the loop," Mallory said. "We are hoping that this issue will reenergize the preschool board and help us come up with options. We are just hoping for a productive next meeting."