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David Minton

School officials: Expansion behind schedule

Profile image for By Britney Tabor
By Britney Tabor

A 4,322-square-foot handicapped-accessible expansion at Fred Moore Day Nursery School Inc. slated to complete construction this month is behind schedule, according to school officials.

Wendy McGee, the school’s executive director, said she’s hopeful a portion of the project — two classrooms for infants and toddlers, a parking lot and two retaining walls — will be completed by Sept. 12.

The retaining walls will be used to prevent erosion and flooding, school officials said.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to serve more children under the age of 2. Opening up the two new classrooms will give us an opportunity to do that,” McGee said. “That’s what this project is all about. It’s about being able to serve more children, more families.”

McGee said the school, currently at capacity with 76 students, has 80 children on a waiting list and is looking to make space for approximately 20 more infants and toddlers with the two additional rooms.

Original expansion plans called for two infant and toddler classrooms, a parking lot, a retaining wall and an activity room that included three storage spaces and two offices.

Permit delays, inclement weather and increased construction costs kept the project from being completed by this month, school officials say.

Left unfinished is a portion of the interior of the activity center, and school officials have plans to add fencing, landscaping and a playground, and replace windows.

“There’s some critical needs there, but we were certainly not comfortable signing contracts ... for things we did not have the funds for, so we had to pull some projects,” McGee said.

McGee said the school continues to raise money and apply for grants to generate the revenue needed for funding projects it currently can’t support.

So far, the school has incurred more than $896,000 in expenses for the expansion project — nearly $141,000 is being paid by the school and the rest is being absorbed with more than $555,000 in grants and a $200,000 line of credit.

School officials estimate that more than $170,000 is needed to complete projects left unfinished.

Margaret “Sam” Bays, school board member and vice president of fundraising and construction, said the school is looking to raise $175,000 to offset its remaining costs. She added that she’s hopeful all the projects are completed by the end of December.

“We just need to go out and keep raising more funds,” she said. “If we can’t get it, then we’ll have to do it in pieces.”

In July 2012, the school finished phase one of expansion — interior renovations and a new toddler classroom.

School officials have said this is the first major expansion to the school in nearly 20 years.

Fred Moore Day Nursery School is the only income-based child care center in the county serving children younger than 2, according to school officials, and is not affiliated with the Denton school district. Tuition for the school is based on a sliding scale calculated by a family’s income and the number of people in a household.

For information on how to donate to fundraising efforts, call 940-387-8214.

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