Without a Lease and the Clock Ticking, Pasadena’s Fair Oaks Preschool Looks to the Public, GoFundMe for Help to Relocate

Published : Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | 5:13 AM

Image Courtesy From Yelp

The Fair Oaks Preschool is looking for a new home and director Elizabeth Brown is asking the community for help.

The preschool has been located for more than 15 years at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 301 Orange Grove Boulevard. But in January, Fair Oaks Preschool was told that because of an expansion by Sequoyah High School on the church campus, the preschool’s lease would not be renewed.

The year-round Fair Oaks Preschool has been providing education programs and child care to the Pasadena community and supports the working families, the school says. Fair Oaks Preschool director Brown said as the lease was not extended, the preschool has until June 2020 to move.

“The Neighborhood Church board of directors has been overwhelmingly supportive,” Brown said. But the issue, she said, is it’s difficult to find the proper space for a preschool.

“Neighborhood Church is committed to helping Fair Oaks in this transition as they seek out the best opportunities for their school and its students,” the Church said in a statement. “We are hoping this move will afford Fair Oaks the chance to grow to their full potential. We have enjoyed a supportive relationship for 11 years and look forward to continuing that going forward.”

But finding suitable space is a growing concern, Brown said.

“There are not a lot of spaces in Pasadena to accommodate a preschool,” Brown said.

But Brown is not alone in trying to find the proper setting for her school. Other preschools are also on the lookout for adequate and regulation approved space. Preschool-qualifiable space in Pasadena is slim at the moment, she says.

She said she needs help with finding a location that can accommodate certain number of square feet per child and other restrictions.

“A lot of it has to do with the fact that young children have to have a specific square footage per child indoors and a specific square footage outside,” Brown said. “So even if you, let’s say, had a huge warehouse where you could have a preschool, if it doesn’t have an adjacent outdoor space that works for young children, that essentially is 75 square feet per child, you can’t open up a preschool. So it’s the combination of indoor, outdoor and then just accessibility to parking and things like that as well. “

The group has started a Go Fund Me page.

“Normally, something we wouldn’t put out into the community,” she said. “But Fair Oaks has been here since 2002. We want to stay here in Pasadena.”

Brown said she asked for a longer term lease from the church but instead was told the bad news.

“When we found out in January that we were going to move, we had not heard anything about our request for a long-term lease which had asked for last July,” Brown said.

Brown said Pasadena and other communities should look to enhance early childhood education and care initiatives. In 2015 Pasadena City Council passed a resolution that by 2025, Pasadena will be known as an Early Learning City.

Access to high quality early education is a subject Brown takes seriously.

“I do feel like early education is critical and really important,” Brown said. “And I think there’s a lot of programs that just don’t do it right. So my calling is more making sure that children have access to high-quality care because it is limited.”

The preschool’s website is Fair Oaks Preschool.

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