President’s house to become daycare

Photo courtesy of Ryan Boeke 
The function room in the current president’s house will be turned into a play area for future

During the past few years, Castleton University has undergone some major changes. One of the newest changes is President Karen Scolforo’s move to a different house.

Scolforo will be moving out of her house by mid-January and a new day care center for children “estimated from birth to pre-kindergarten” will be housed, said Scolforo. Early estimates believe the house can provide for 51 students.

“This home has six bedrooms and five bathrooms. It does have a completely finished basement and then we have the porch addition which we use for conferences and events.” she said. “So during the day the students will have access to it for large motor skills and play and in the evenings and weekends we can still use it for events, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds.”

Dennis Proulx, dean of students, estimates that the house is about 3,500 square feet. The house is two stories and both stories will be used for the daycare.

“Originally when we first started to talk about this, we only thought that the first floor would be ample space but after further discussion we decided that if we were going to use the house, it only made sense to use the second floor as well,” he said.

Using the President’s house as a daycare has many advantages such as its size and isolation from the campus, as well as a substantial outdoor play area. But a helpful reason is that there will only be small renovations to get it ready according to Scolforo.

One of the main reasons for the change is to support the new early childhood and special education program, which started this fall with a “lab school.”

“We’ll have our students completing internships at our lab school,” said Scolforo. “The goal is just to create a high quality, competitive, service oriented program for the entire region.”

Along with that, Scolforo also expects to see students enrolling into the program from Rutland and beyond the Castleton boundaries. She hopes to become a support system for early education faculty all across the region, essentially becoming “a hub.”

The ultimate goal Scolforo wants to achieve is to serve our region.

“The provision of high quality education and care number one allows families to move here, number two we know that early childhood education provides families and students with what they need to be successful in life and I would say that number three is the fact that we are a public university and we take that very seriously so it’s important to meet the needs of our region in any way that we can,” she said.

Scolforo said that she would love to see the program expand in partnership with the local school district as a long-term plan. But she also mentioned that she is willing to do what she can for the community.

“To not be able to entertain my family for over a year it is a sacrifice. However, I see that the childcare will serve such a critical need in the community, I’m willing to do it for Castleton,” she said.

The event’s kickoff date is estimated to be the summer of 2020.

As for the whereabouts of Scolforo during the change, she will be moving into the yellow cottage which is located near the Coffee Cottage, which is substantially smaller than the current house she is living in.

It has one bedroom and has been used to provide temporary housing to incoming faculty. Scolforo does not believe that this is a long-term plan, as well as Proulx.

“The house will only be used temporarily because it is impossible to entertain guests to Castleton University,” Proulx said.

Scolforo also does not believe there is enough room to house her family, which is really important to her.

They are in the process of renovating the Noah Diah Granger house, which is the white house on South Street directly adjacent to the yellow cottage.

“We are on track to secure grant dollars for that renovation and we also earmarked some of our university capital dollars to do some of the work,” said Scolforo.

If all goes well, the Granger house will be ready for occupancy at the end of summer 2021. Scolforo admits that the house is not suitable for anyone to live there currently and Proulx adds that there are a lot of renovation that need to be done to the house in order to support the president.

“We still need to renovate a new kitchen, all the bathrooms need to be remodeled, yard work, fix all the exterior and run electrical and lines throughout the house. We also hope to add a garage to the house and to remodel the house to showcase the university,” he said.

“We are creating a plan that will enhance visibility for this current president and all future presidents of Castleton University,” said Scolforo. “I think it is important to say that this is not just for me; this is for all future presidents at Castleton.”

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