“We’ve known for the last couple years that we had this exponential growth and potential,” Montessori Academy Director Janice Fakhoury said. “We’re busting out at the seam s.”
Fakhoury said enrollment at the original location has grown between 30 and 40 percent in the last three years.
The school has five families on the waiting list and gets two or three calls a week asking if there are any spaces open for immediate enrollment.
She said the school started looking for a new location about a year ago, and after considering several different options, decided Franklin Street was the most viable.
“The location is within three and a half miles of where we are now, so we’d be able to serve the same clientele,” she said. “A lot of our families are associated with the University and the hospital, so we’d also be close enough to serve the community that we’re serving now, in addition to people waiting.”
She said parents will be able to decide which facility their child will attend. The original location at 1200 Mason Farm Road reached its capacity of 49 children. The Franklin Street location will hold 50.
After the Community Design Commission approved the location for a childcare fac ility on Aug. 20, the school worked with the Columbia, S.C., based architectural firm Sherer & Associates to design the building.
“Once we knew the area was available, things moved relatively quickly,” Fakhoury said.
Dan Sherer, president of Sherer & Associates, said the building’s stone base, stucco siding and columns complement the area.
“It’s not a large building — there’s not a lot to it — but architecturally, I think it’ll be a nice looking building.”
Sherer said the project will cost about $350,000.
The Community Design Commission reviewed the concept plans and gave comments for changes to the building’s exterior.
“The overall concern was to add a little more architectural interest to the building,” Community Design Commission Chairman Jason Hart said .
The commission’s suggestions were to add awnings over all the windows and trellises to the east facade. These were incorporated into the final plans, Hart said, which were approved Sept. 23.
The school shares the site with Pep Boys Auto Service Center and is leasing the 2,000 square-foot property from them.
Fakhoury said the application for a construction permit will likely be submitted this week, and construction, which will begin as soon as the town approves the permit, is estimated to take four to six months.
She said the school will begin hiring staff early next year.