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Displaced Westport Nursery School Finds New Home

WESTPORT, Conn. – Saugatuck Nursery School, which was forced out of Westport’s Saugatuck Congregational Church after the Nov. 20 fire, has found a long-term, temporary home at First Church of Christ, Scientist.

Since the fire, the nursery school has been operating out of the Westport Weston Family Y. On Thursday night, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special permit to allow the school to run at First Church of Christ, Scientist for 18 months.

“We have been told by Saugatuck Congregational Church that they will be ready to welcome us back in approximately 18 months,” Ellen DeHuff, executive director of Saugatuck Nursery School, told the commission. “Although they have been very gracious to have us there, I am forced to leave the YMCA for a number of reasons and am looking for long-term, temporary space.”

Saugatuck Nursery School’s 35 children have been sharing classroom space with the Family Y’s Early Learning Program since December. The Y had arraigned to provide free accommodations through the end of January and leased its space to the nursery school after that.

The Y has been able to accommodate the nursery school due to lower winter enrollment in the Y’s Early Learning Program, said David Cohen, vice president of operations at the Y. However, he said on a longer-term basis, it would be difficult to run both programs out of its space as enrollment increases, especially in the fall.

“We’ve been loving having the nursery school here,” said Cohen. “But they really need a place to call home for at least the next 18 months, and we wouldn’t be able to accommodate that.”

Under the special permit granted by the commission, the nursery school will now occupy two classrooms at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 55 Compo Road S. It holds Sunday and Wednesday services. The church is not used as a public meeting space for community groups.

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