Only a few weeks ago, Wilson Nursery School had their “Now Enrolling!” sign out on the front lawn of their new location at Holy Temple Church of God in Christ church, formerly Wilson Congregational. But last week it was decided that due to a hefty increase in their lease requirement, they would be closing their doors one year early. The plan, upon the arrival of the new owners (Holy Temple Church of God in Christ) into the old Wilson Congregational building, was to give the school one more scholastic calendar year to serve Windsor children, but unfortunately they will not be able to afford it.
“It was all very sad and unexpected,” said Wilson Nursery School Director Lori Butterick. “The understanding is that because the mortgage owns the [new church’s] loan, [the company] thought the lease we currently have was too low. They were not agreeing to the terms. [The church] had to raise it and what they raised it to we couldn’t afford,” added a disappointed Butterick.
Butterick also blames a slowly decreasing enrollment.
"I feel badly that [parents] were under the same assumption that we were: that we would be having the school," said Kathy Kopacz, the head of the 4-year old program. "At this late date, I feel badly that they would have to scramble to get a preschool," she said as her mind was immediately drawn to the kids who had a hard time adjusting to preschool.
But Butterick wants the focus to be on the tremendous contribution that Wilson Nursery gave to the Windsor community for the past four and a half decades.
“The Nursery School was started by Wilson Congregational 45 years ago,” said Butterick. “[The have done] great things for the community during the past 45 years.”
Over that time, the school has become a staple of early education in town — multitudes of Windsor children who were educated at the school returned years later to enroll their own children, according to Butterick.
"Our location allowed that area of Windsor to be served," added Kopacz. "There aren’t any other preschools in that area. Lori did a great job of getting parents involved. We had a good reputation," she said.
Butterick is thinking not only about the parents she has been serving, but also the now defunct Wilson Congregational congregation. “It was exciting for the Wilson church members to see that something that they created was going to continue on after their church closed,” she lamented. But sadly, it cannot.
Wilson Nursery was one of the only preschools in Windsor offer a 2-year old program. They had begun teaching spanish this year and added a music and movement element to their program as well.
Kopacz feels with the advent of Magnet schools, tuition based preschools are taking a hard hit during bad economic times. "Our enrollment we have for next year is less than we have for this year. Magnet schools who offer preschool for free – we are losing some students to that," she said.
Members of Holy Temple Church of God in Christ could not be reached for comment, but Butterick wants community members to know that she knew the preschool's end was near regardless of what transpired this year. "We don’t wish anybody ill will," she said. "We hope their church does well. We just wish we had a little more time."
Kopacz does have one regret. "We never had a chance to say goodbye. If I had known, the last day of school would have been different," she lamented.
"We were happy to be a part of the community,” said Butterick. “When your time runs out, it runs out. We left with a good reputation.”