There has been a long journey for the Stepping Stones preschool to find a new home, but a new location is ready to go, for the time being.
Owner Lori Caron-Kluppelberg started the process of moving out of the Langdon fieldhouse in June of 2016 but stumbling blocks along the way created a lot of uncertainty about where the preschool would be this fall.
The new location is secure, but it will be temporary. On Aug. 15, the Stepping Stones staff will move into the No. 120 bay of the strip mall on Main Street in Langdon.
“I’ve been biting my nails and been on the edge of my seat,” Caron-Kluppelberg said. “It’s been such a process.”
The plan will be for the preschool, which can accommodate 96 kids between the ages of three and five, to reside there for the fall season. In January, Stepping Stones is scheduled to move a few doors down to a building that’s just being constructed.
Once that happens, Caron-Kluppelberg will be starting another process with the Rocky View County to re-do what she went through in order to move into the temporary location.
Back in April, the county approved an amendment that allowed educational services or child care to be operated out of that location. Since then, Stepping Stones has been negotiating to get into the space, while looking forward to the future when it they can find a more permanent home. When they move into the newly constructed space, they will be signing a five-year lease, and will need to amend bylaws on that space as well.
The moves has created uncertainty but now she’s happy to have a plan.
“Everyone knows we are starting our year off in the one bay unit and then switching in January,” Caron-Kluppelberg said. “It was hard to say that because people don’t always take well to change. It’s a tough business to run.”
The new space doesn’t give Stepping Stones more room exactly, but they were sharing the field house with other people. There was a lot more work that went into running the preschool because of those limitations.
“What this does is give us exclusive space,” Caron-Kluppelberg said. “Being in the field house, the red barn basically, we would have to set up and take down every single day.
“In order for us to provide a learning environment that is conducive to this age group, it was a lot of work. You can imagine what we had to do to set up a preschool every day. This doesn’t necessarily give us more space for more children, but it gives us our own space. We don’t have to share anything. Everything will be left up for us.”
One of the things Caron-Kluppelberg will add is a place for adult education, which she feels is sorely needed in Langdon.
“In January, we’re launching the Langdon Learning Centre,” she said. “This is what our development plan was actually based upon. What it means is not only we have preschool space, we also have adult learning in the evenings.
“We’re hoping to make that a hub for anyone to teach yoga or do some tutoring or anyone who needs a nice quiet space to work in. We’re hoping to open that up to anyone in the community who would like to use that space for a nominal fee. We want it to be put to good use.”