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Britney Tabor

Nursery school expansion groundbreaking planned

Profile image for By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer
By Britney Tabor / Staff Writer

Fred Moore Day Nursery School, Inc. on Cross TimberStreet in Denton is planning an Oct. 5 groundbreaking for a 4,322-square-foothandicapped-accessible expansion it hopes to complete by next spring.

Founded in the early 1950s, Fred Moore Day NurserySchool is a non-profit childcare center that offers affordable childcare forlow-income families with children from six weeks to 5 years of age.

The school currently has 75 children enrolled, andmore than 60 children who are 2 years old and younger are on a waiting list,said executive director Wendy McGee. 

“That’s where our greatest need is,” she said. “Themajority of them are infants and that’s what we’re trying to address.”

Currently, the 5,089-square-foot school includesfive classrooms, an office, janitor’s closet, kitchen, utility space andrestrooms. 

Expansion will include two additional classroomsfor infants and toddlers and will allow the school to accept an additional 25children, McGee said.

The facility’s officials said Fred Moore DayNursery School is the only income-based childcare center in the county thatserves children younger than 2 years of age. According to a school brochure,tuition for the school is based on a sliding scale that’s calculated by afamily’s income and the number of people in a household. According to schoolofficials, it saves parents anywhere from $200 to $400 a month in childcareexpenses. The nursery school is not affiliated with Denton ISD.

The school is funded with tuition fees, donations,fundraisers and various grants. Caring for the children are six credentialedChild Development Associates, one teacher with an early-childhood degree andfive teachers who will enter Child Development Associate courses this fall.

In July 2012, the school completed a first phase ofimprovements, which included interior renovations and the addition of a newtoddler classroom space. The project was funded with a $121,300 CommunityDevelopment Block Grant it received in 2010 from the city of Denton.

Using a $286,759 Community Development Block Grantthe school received in 2012, a second phase of expansion will include twoadditional classrooms, a parking lot — which will be constructed on what is nowthe facility’s back lot — and a retaining wall.

Currently, families park their vehicles on CrossTimber Street to access the school, and Sam Bays, the school’s board president,said adding a parking lot gives families safe entrance when dropping off theirchildren. Instead of parking on the street, families will soon be able toaccess a parking lot off Mill Street, which is exciting, she said.

The school will use a $268,400 CommunityDevelopment Block Grant it received this year for a third expansion phase,which will include an activity room — to be used for gym and teacher and parenttraining events — three storage spaces and two additional offices.

School officials say they hope to complete phasestwo and three by next May or June. They intend to keep the school open duringthe expansion and areas where construction is taking place will be blockedoff. 

“At the end of the day, you can see it changes thewhole scope for Fred Moore,” Bays said.

She said the Community Development Block grantsgive the school “the ability to serve more children in a safer, warmer,cheerful atmosphere.”

“It’s enabled us to attract teachers and raise thestandard of the curriculum,” Bays said.

McGee said Fred Moore Day Nursery School has anobligation and goal to provide a quality early childhood development programthat has lasting effects on its children throughout their lives. The facilityis able to fulfill that goal by providing quality teachers and upgrading itsfacility so that it provides a “better quality experience” for the children itserves, McGee added.

This major expansion is the first the school hasundergone since 1995.

Officials with the nursery school say the expansionwill cost an estimated $806,121. In addition to grants received from the city,the school has also put nearly $23,000 toward the project for architecturalfees. 

The school looks to raise an additional quarter ofa million dollars for the project with a capital campaign which will kick offOct. 5, Bays said. Proceeds collected from the annual gospel brunch the schoolholds in December will also support the expansion project, she said.

“If we have to, the school will put in more money,but we’d like to do it with fundraising,” Bays said. “We’re hoping for acapital campaign that we could raise $250,000. If we can raise $250,000, we canget everything done that we’d like to get done.

“We hope the community will help back us and helpus achieve our goal.”

Linda Elaiho is the cook at Fred Moore Day NurserySchool and her 4-year-old twins are enrolled at the facility. One year ago, thedivorced mother of four said she was unemployed and attending school to becomea nurse.

Unable to pay $1,000 a month in childcare for hertwins, she said she contemplated quitting school and getting a job that wouldhelp with some of the expenses she faced. She said she sat down with counselorsat her college who suggested Fred Moore Day Nursery School as an affordablechildcare option. 

She said she’s happy to see the facility expandbecause there’s a lot more people who face the situation she did a year ago whowould benefit from Fred Moore Day Nursery School. Elaiho said it saddens her tosee parents come and attempt to enroll their children only to be put on awaiting list because of space constraints. 

“I feel like having more space would benefit moreparents, more single parents who want to do the right thing and want to have abetter life,” she said. 

Dinora Padilla has been at Fred Moore Day NurserySchool since 2011 working with the toddler groups, and her 3-year-old child hasbeen enrolled there since 20 months. She, too, said she’s excited about theexpansion and the opportunity to assist more children.

“As a parent, I’m very excited to know that othersare going top be able to benefit from this program,” Padilla said. 

She said it also excites her that the children willhave an activity space where they can exercise or move around on days whenthey’re unable to go outside. 

The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 11 a.m.Oct. 5 at Fred Moore Day Nursery School, located at 821 Cross Timber St., witha luncheon to follow. People wanting to attend the event must submit an RSVP toLynda West by Friday. West can be reached at 940-387-8214 or via e-mail

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 andvia Twitter at @BritneyTabor.