AUBURN — The Montessori School of the Finger Lakes is getting a new home after months of planning.

The school, located at the United Methodist Church on Fitch Avenue for the past 13 years, will move to 6734 Pine Ridge Road in Sennett. The school is more than doubling its space; the site encompasses 9,000 square feet of indoor space and includes a 10-acre outdoor environment.

“(The planning is) still evolving, but we know we need to expand,” said Gilda Brower, teacher and director at the school.

The non-religious private school is 28 years old, and for the first 15 years of its existence was located at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Seward Avenue, according to a press release issued by the school. The addition of elementary school students forced the move to the Fitch Avenue site.

The move to the Pine Ridge Road site is driven by enrollment, Brower said. The school’s elementary students were crowded, with two multi-age classrooms — all of the elementary students — in one room. With all of them at different levels and studying different subjects, the set-up was no longer acceptable.

Another factor in rising enrollment is the body of junior high school students. Sometimes, when fifth graders complete their last year of elementary school, they choose to continue junior high elsewhere. However, sometimes they elect to stay at the Montessori school, which adds to the school’s junior high population.

“We were not able to come up with options (to expand at the former site) that were doable, even though we loved where we were,” Brower said.

The school has been trying to add a whole-day toddler day care program, and is currently chartered to offer a half-day program, Brower said.

The board of directors tried to expand into a whole-day program at the Fitch Avenue site, but more extensive work was required.

“In order to provide toddler day care, we had to make serious renovations,” Brower said.

The school has received a grant that will allow it to renovate a room at the Pine Ridge Road site and bring it up to code for a whole-day program.

The school is currently chartered up through eighth grade, Brower said.

“We would like to do something with high school, but right now we’re really focused on expanding the scope of the junior high,” she added.

The school will be open for viewing from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 13. A six-week summer program will be offered during July and August.

Staff writer Kelly Voll can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 239 or kelly.voll@lee.net

If you go

What: Montessori School Open House

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 13

Where: 6734 Pine Ridge Road, Auburn

Call 252-2225 for information about the open house or summer programs

 

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