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Preschool finally has a home

Red Barn Preschool cuts ribbon on new location at 396 N.E. Pierce St.
by: Jeff Spiegel Mayor Becky Arnold was on hand to cut the ribbon on the new school, which features a new playground and Red Barn’s own space inside.

As the ribbon was cut on the Red Barn Preschool on Thursday afternoon, teacher Michelle Pesznecker could finally exhale.

After years of bouncing from building to building, the school finally has a place of its own.

The preschool was started in 1977 when it occupied space in an actual red barn across the Clackamas River, but a few years later in 1980, it was on the move. That time it was to the United Methodist Church where the school was for 25 years, but in 2005, things changed again.

The church was bought by a private company, and the preschool moved to the old Sunshine Daycare spot on Broadway Street where it was leasing the space. Two years ago, however, the owner began requiring them to share the space with an afternoon class, and Pesznecker and her team began looking for a new home.

'We decided it was more cost effective to buy a place, so we purchased this piece of property and began renovations in June 2010,' she said.

The school opened for class on Sept. 8 of this year, but the grand opening and open house were just last week, complete with a ribbon-cutting by Mayor Becky Arnold.

The preschool is open Monday through Friday with morning classes taking part in two sessions. One class is a three-day class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while the two-day class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

While the classes are typically filled to the maximum allowed, the same can't be said about this year, something Pesznecker attributes to the move.

'I think the new location had the opposite effect than we expected because people were confused about where it would be and whether we would be open in time, but we're hoping to fill back up once people see that we're done,' she said.

The new space includes an outdoor play area featuring jungle gyms, swings and slides that are perfect for kids. There also are plans to include a small bike path around the play area in the future.

What makes this space so perfect is that teachers like Pesznecker actually got to help design the place.

'We were able to do things like put the swings in the back where kids won't be running through that area, and set up the bike path around the play area instead of through the middle of it,' she said.

The new building is at 396 N.E. Pierce, right near the Estacada High School football field. For more information on the school or registering your student, visit redbarnpreschool.com.