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Old Strom Center becomes preschool, day care

When one door closes, another opens. When the Strom Center closed its doors in April, Alyssa Kuntz saw an opportunity to re-open the doors as a preschool and day care. "This space became available and it was just perfect," she said. "We had been ...

Nichole Roth, supervisor for Learning Ladder childcare and Alyssa Kuntz, owner and preschool teacher for Learning Ladder stand in the childcare area of the building which will open on October 10. (Kalsey Stults / The Dickinson Press)
Nichole Roth, supervisor for Learning Ladder childcare and Alyssa Kuntz, owner and preschool teacher for Learning Ladder stand in the childcare area of the building which will open on October 10. (Kalsey Stults / The Dickinson Press)

When one door closes, another opens.

When the Strom Center closed its doors in April, Alyssa Kuntz saw an opportunity to re-open the doors as a preschool and day care.

"This space became available and it was just perfect," she said. "We had been in here for training so we knew what the building looked like and I saw the potential in it."

Learning Ladder Preschool & Childcare turned what once held offices and rooms to support entrepreneurship into rooms fit for children.

Kuntz signed the lease in July and said she has since been staying busy getting it ready.

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"We've been working hard," she said. "When we got the keys like the first thing we were doing was like, 'Let's get it done. Let's start decorating. Let's get it running.'"

The building will have an indoor playground, fenced outdoor playground, cafeteria, security system, office space, and rooms for preschool and child care.

The preschool, which was formed in 2014, expanded to include a child care after moving to the new location.

The child care portion of Learning Ladder begins Oct. 10 and has openings available. The preschool has already began and is full.

Alyssa Klein said her son, Eli, is in his second year of preschool with Kuntz and that he loves it.

"It's been wonderful," she said of Eli's experience. "Last year he was sick one day and he was very upset that he couldn't go."

She said Eli's eyes "just lit up" when he saw what his new preschool building would be after moving from their previous location.

"The building they were at last year was very small," Klein said. "(The new building is) a lot bigger and a lot better I think."

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Corinna Diehl's daughter Macy also loves going to preschool and Diehl said she can't wait to go back every day.

Diehl had a daughter in preschool at the old location last year and said the new location is better for the students.

"It's so much more room than before and it's just great for the kids to be able to explore and play and learn in a more comfortable area," she said.

Diehl said she knows Kuntz really cares about the students.

"Mrs. Alyssa, she really cares about the kids and you see that every day when you bring them," Diehl said.

Nichole Roth will be the supervisor of the day care section and said that when designing the space she wanted it "to feel open and welcoming."

The child care section includes mixed age groups, which Kuntz said was important for her when branching into child care instead of only preschool.

She said it was a goal to not have kids in one area all day long and to be able to have different age groups in one location so it was a "family feel." She said the mixed age groups are also helpful for the younger kids because they learn things from their older peers if they are around them.

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Kuntz said she encourages anyone interested to come tour the facility.

"We always want you to come in, tour, ask questions and feel comfortable before you enroll," she said. "Make sure it's the right fit for you."

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