News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 5, 2017
New childcare center pushes forward with construction

Progress on childcare center

The structure of the former water reservoir on Windmill Hill in Castine has been demolished to make way for the future Community Childhood Learning Place.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Monique Labbe

The fate of forward progress at the construction site of the future Community Childhood Learning Place is in the hands of a power hammer. At least, that is what it feels like for board members Nancy Sayre and her husband WG.

The power hammer will be used to pound away the concrete cylinder wall of the former water reservoir on Windmill Hill. Once that is done, the rest of the reservoir can be drained and cleared for filling.

“It’s finally coming together,” said Nancy Sayre, who, along with her husband, has been involved with the project since the beginning.

The board acquired the new location last year; however, work was at a standstill until this past spring when volunteers were able to take the roof off. The building has since been leveled, but “about 80 percent” of the lumber has been saved, according to WG Sayre. That lumber will be used in the construction of the building.

Much of the work thus far has been done by volunteers, said Nancy Sayre, which has kept costs low throughout the process.

“If we were to hire a crew for the entire project, this would cost upwards of about $800,000,” said WG Sayre. “But the community seems to be behind us, and we’re very confident we can do this for under $400,000.”

WG Sayre is the contractor on the project and has been working with architect company Todd&Mohr of Virginia and structural engineer Albert Putnam.

Fundraising and grants has brought in roughly half of the money needed to complete the project so far, according to the Sayres. The board is waiting to hear back on two more grants that have been submitted. Nancy is also in the process of writing three more grants, which she hopes to have completed by the end of the month.

The Community Childhood Learning Place operates under a 501c-3, making it a not-for-profit organization.

“The community has really been amazing,” said Nancy Sayre. “People have been making donations, whether it’s money, desks, chairs, shelves, windows.”

“Our biggest concern is where we’re going to put our cars once the snow comes,” she added with a chuckle. “Everything is in our garage right now.”

Sayre also noted that progress on the new building can only continue as fast as the funding comes in. There have been four fundraisers this year, in the form of a yard sale, fashion show, road race and a golf tournament. While the board has decided to take a break from official fundraisers for the rest of the year, donations will be accepted at any time.

Once completed, the dome-shaped childcare center, according to the plans, will boast over 4,000 square feet of classroom and work space, as well as an outdoor play area. In the center of it all will be the art room, with a cupola at the top to light the room in natural sunlight.

While the timeline is not set in stone, the Sayres said they think a target completion date for summer of 2018 is not out of the question.

“If everything goes according to plan, and we get done everything that needs to, we just might make it by summer,” said WG Sayre.