Vail preschool sinks roots in new building |

Vail preschool sinks roots in new building

Scott N. Miller
Preston Utley/Vail DailyFive-year-old Jack Knight, left and Jacob Dilling, 5 talk about which activity they will do next at the Childrens Garden learning center Monday in Vail.

VAIL – It took a merger, and two moves, but the Children’s Garden of Learning is ready to put down roots.The merger came in 2002, when the ABC preschool and the Learning Tree child care center merged to become the Children’s Garden. The new school stayed in its old location near the main Vail interchange for a year, then had to clear out to make room for the Middle Creek apartment complex. A new preschool building separate from the apartments was part of the deal the town cut with Coughlin and Company, the developer at Middle Creek. But while the new building was under construction, the Children’s Garden still needed a home. Space for the preschool was available at Red Sandstone Elementary School, so the preschool put some stuff in storage, cut the number of kids it could take by a bit, and moved down the North Frontage Road.After a couple of years at the elementary school, the preschool’s new home was ready early this year.”We’re definitely excited,” preschool director Liz McGillvray said. “We loved our little old buildings, but they were old. With the new building we can serve more families.”And it was the families whose kids grow in the Children’s Garden who helped with all the transplants. “We helped with the first move, to Red Sandstone,” Bryan Hutchinson said. “It was a lot of work.”Moving to the new place was a lot of work, too.”We had 20 parents a day helping this time,” McGillvray said. “We got it all ready within a week.” The moves, and the school’s continuing success, wouldn’t be possible without the support of parents. “I’m very proud of the support we’ve had,” McGillvray said. “We’ve had some parents go through all the changes.”The Hutchinsons are among those families. The West Vail couple’s oldest son went through the preschool program and is now at Red Sandstone. Eliot Hutchinson, 5, is in his last year at the Children’s Garden.

Moving the facility around has had its share of trying moments, Tricia Hutchinson said. “But it’s worth it. This is really nice, and it’s really handy for us. It’s a great facility,” she said. Keeping the school great is McGillvray’s goal. The relationship with the town is crucial, she said.The town owns the facility, but leases it to the Children’s Garden for $10 a year, which leaves more money for things like paying the staff and keeping daily tuition reasonable.”We’re able to offer benefits for the staff,” McGillvray said. “I believe in professional benefits.”Benefits and good pay help keep staff, McGillvray said.”It’s a neat thing to be a part of something like this,” she said.The Hutchinsons think the Children’s Garden is pretty neat, too.”This is a great facility,” Tricia Hutchinson said. “I loved the old building, but we’ve been working toward this for years. It’s just great.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or Daily, Vail Colorado

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