We have news! A New Lease on our Building Life
Happy Valley School, a play and nature-based preschool located on Gulf Road in Peterborough for 50 years, has been forced to look for a new home. Meanwhile, our congregational leadership has been hoping for a more comprehensive rental use of our building space, especially the religious education rooms that remain vacant and unused throughout the work week.
In February representatives from Happy Valley and PUUC along with RE Director Zoe Wroten-Heinzmann began to explore the prospect of their moving here. A tour with Zoe left them enthusiastic. Our large center room and four adjacent classrooms offer a very workable arrangement. While they have been farm-based program, they love the opportunities that being downtown will present. In turn, we believe they will be an excellent fit with our mission and solidify our place in the community.
Our PUUC congregation will see real change during this year in how we think of our building space. It is exciting, but it will bring challenges that test our flexibility. Beginning this spring, we will have to take certain actions to prepare for Happy Valley School. We are already obliged to meet fire code requirements mainly related to exit doors, a need an inspection report told us in Fall, 2019. We will fence in the rear yard for a playground area, and Happy Valley will provide any play structures. These costs will come from our Building Fund and are expenses we must incur in any event. They will be recouped from rental fees over a two-year period.
Happy Valley will rent the Religious Education (RE) space beginning June 1, 2021, and they anticipate their program will start about September 1st. They expect to begin with 25 children ranging in age from two to five. Their school day runs from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM. The preschool will be responsible for their own furniture and supplies. We have agreed to clear existing furniture and other stored items within the classrooms by mid-May. Certainly, we must collaborate on storage or disposal of our property, especially items of historical value.
Happy Valley staff will be responsible for daily cleaning and will coordinate with our custodian on trash removal, recycling, and other matters. The space will be shared on weekends and non-school hours with the PUUC Religious Education Program under the supervision of the RE Director who will have access.
The Dining Hall and Parish Hall are not part of the RE space and remain under our control. However, they may use them (excluding the Parish Hall Stage) on a space-available basis when not occupied by PUUC activities or renters of those areas, with approval of the Church Administrator.
We have discussed the impact of other renters who use our building during the week, including Community Supper on Wednesday evenings. Happy Valley is aware and will adjust any of their activities if a need appears. The preschool will share their school year calendar with us, and we will provide Happy Valley with online access to the PUUC monthly calendar of events which is continually updated as new events are scheduled.