Months after facing a closure, a local preschool held its grand re-opening Sunday

In June, the city terminated the lease for the Blackburn Hamlet Preschool after it failed to meet all of the necessary health and safety regulations. The not-for-profit school, located in East Ottawa, was in a state of disrepair after serving the community for more than 40 years.  

“For example we needed vent systems in the bathrooms and some fixing of the foundation of the building,” said Humaira Popal, the preschool's supervisor.

The announcement shocked many families and long-time residents of Blackburn Hamlet, Chapel Hill, and surrounding communities.

“It was heart wrenching and a little distressing too trying to figure it all out,” said David Noordhod, who has a daughter at the preschool.

Noordhod and many other community members rallied together to have the school re-opened.

 “They bombarded city hall with emails and phone calls talking about the importance of this 45 year old institution in our community,” said Sarah MacDonald-McLean, the preschool’s vice president of operations.

The city agreed to extend the lease for two year, provided the preschool was able to perform the necessary repairs by the end of the summer.

Members of the community volunteered their time to help fix up the old preschool by painting, cleaning and packing.

The repairs, which cost roughly $50,000, were paid at the preschool’s expense.

Members of the preschool's board of directors hope to find a brand new home for the preschool by 2017.

“We’re exploring options which would include things like perhaps partnering with a local elementary school, with just foods out here in the greenbelt”, said MacDonal-McLean. “There are a number of options we’re considering.”

Spaces are still available in all programs at the preschool and registration is ongoing.