This is a reminder: There is a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the new site for the Oak Ridge Preschool.
Oak Ridge City Council delayed the vote on a new preschool location at its regular meeting on Monday, March 13. Council members wanted to allow time for more community discussion and input. They delayed the vote on the preschool site after hearing from a few residents who had questions about using Scarboro Park.
As part of the effort to allow more community input, a public meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Scarboro Community Center.
The City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools have been working to choose a site for the new preschool for about two years, a press release said. The preschool would relocate from the School Administration Building on New York Avenue. Members of a committee formed to recommend possible sites looked at city-owned properties and many factors that would affect future students, their families, and the community as a whole, the press release said.
Two locations were ultimately identified as possible sites for the new preschool: Scarboro Park and Elm Grove Park.
Scarboro Park is across the street from the Scarboro Community Center on Carver Avenue, which was also considered as an option at one time. But the Scarboro Community Center was removed from further consideration because of the challenges associated with converting it to be used as a school, the press release said.
Residents living near Elm Grove Park, a site on East Tennessee Avenue that once housed a school, supported the preservation of that park, and they opposed building the preschool there.
Meanwhile, “much of the feedback received about the Scarboro Park site has been very positive and welcoming of the new preschool,” the press release said.
Members of City Council and the Oak Ridge Board of Education will be present at the Thursday meeting, along with city staff members and the senior project manager at Studio Four Design, the architectural firm selected for the project. Citizens will be able to voice concerns and ask questions, the press release said.
City Council expects to take action on a preschool site during a special-called meeting at 7 p.m. March 27 in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.
The Oak Ridge Board of Education voted to approve the Scarboro Park site for the new preschool at a meeting on February 27.
A new preschool has been on the city’s wish list for many years, dating back to at least the mid-1980s. Officials have said the current preschool is in a structure that was built for temporary use about 70 years ago, and repairs, some required to meet federal Head Start funding requirements, have become costly. In February 2015, the Oak Ridge City Council agreed to use $150,000 in red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the Preschool. That provided what officials hoped would be a temporary fix while they developed a plan to permanently repair, replace, or move the Preschool.
What: Community meeting on the site selection for a new Oak Ridge Preschool
When: Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m.
Where: Scarboro Community Center, 148 Carver Avenue, Oak Ridge
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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