LACONIA — Youngsters from the Saint James Preschool got to attend classes for the first time in nearly a month yesterday when they showed up at their new temporary home at the Lakes Region Child Care Services Early Learning Center at Normandin Square.
The pre-school has been closed since December 8, when vandals left water running in an upstairs sink which had been blocked, flooding the basement classroom space used by the students at the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region.
''It's our first day here and the kids are having a great time. They haven't been able to attend school in a month and they're really glad to see each other again,'' said Gayle Sullivan, preschool director, who said that one of the big attractions for the 21 students who attended school yesterday was a climbing structure at the Early Learning Center.
''We don't have anything like that and they were fascinated with it,'' said Sullivan.
She said that within 24 hours after Saint James Preschool was forced to close the Early Learning Center reached out with on offer to share its facilities and the preschool now has about 1,350-square-feet of space to operate its own programs.
Students and their parents got to view the facility at a December 20 open house and the first day of classes at the school was originally scheduled for January 2 but was postponed for three straight days by school cancellations.
''It's a beautiful kid-friendly atmosphere here and we're so happy that Lakes Region Child Care Services has allowed us to use the facility,'' said Sullivan.
She expects that repairs to the Boys and Girls Club will be completed by the end of the month and that the preschool will be able to return to the same classroom spaces that it has occupied at the former Saint James Episcopal Church ever since it was started at the Saint James Day Care Center in 1965 by the end of January.
CAPTION: Saint James Pre-schoolers Brayden Pucci, Cody Houle, Elise Graton and Dante Morin enjoy a little climbing at the school's new, temporary facility at the Lakes Region Child Care Services Early Learning Center on Strafford Street in Laconia. It was their first day at school in nearly a month for the youngsters, who will be returning to their familiar classrooms at the Boys and Girls Club on North Main Street. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)