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Child care center eyes Lincoln Elementary School in Dixon

Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Doug Lee, president of the Open Sesame board of directors
Arlan McClain, vice president of the Open Sesame board of directors

DIXON – Officials at Open Sesame Children's Learning Center in Dixon said the day care might move into the vacant Lincoln Elementary School.

"We are considering that," said Doug Lee, president of the Open Sesame board of directors.

Before Lincoln closed at the end of the last school year, Open Sesame held after-school programs there and at Washington and Jefferson elementary schools.

"With the closure of Lincoln, Open Sesame has lost that space in the two remaining buildings," Lee said. "On a temporary basis, the school district has allowed us to move not only the summer program, but also the after-school program into Lincoln. We are exploring whether that can be a permanent arrangement."

Although Open Sesame is considering buying the building, there are some concerns.

Lee said Lincoln School is a much bigger space than what Open Sesame needs. The board of directors also has to determine if a new location will fit into its budget and if a move is something parents and staff will support.

"There is a lot of things that we need to consider," Lee said. "It would be a huge move for us."

Because they are early in the process, Lee said it's too early to determine how much the building would cost.

Open Sesame rents space from the Dixon School District for its after-school programs and summer school.

"They could not do the after-school or summer program in the existing building, because there is not enough space," said Arlan McClain, vice president of the Open Sesame board of directors.

There are roughly 200 students in the program

The child care center is a nonprofit organization, run by its board of directors.

"It's the biggest day care in the area," McClain said.

Some of the benefits of moving to the school, Lee said, are the additional facility and gym space, a larger play area, and the ability to consolidate all of programming into one location.

In addition to moving to Lincoln, Lee also said there other options available.

"One option would be to see if the school district has other after-school space in some other building," he said. "Another option would be to eliminate or reduce the after- school program. We could also move the after-school program into the current center and adjust what's in the current center."

Lee said the move is far from being finalized.

"Our interest is serious," he said. "Before we would present something like this to our parents and staff, we'd want a solid plan in place and we are not even there yet."

Dixon school officials had little to say about Open Sesame's interest in the building.

"In order to sell a building, we have to sell it by auction or sealed bid," said David Blackburn, business manager of the school district. "We can't reach out and strike a deal with someone. I'm not at liberty to say who is interested."

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