By JEN CARDINES
The Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) unanimously approved the modification of a special permit to increase the child capacity at The Church of Saint Dominic daycare center at the site of the former Catholic school at 1050 Flanders Rd.
The original permit that was approved in September 2015 allowed 60 children in the facility, but with the growing need for childcare in Southington, church officials asked the PZC to increase the number of children to 120.
Father Ronald May spoke before the commission during the May 16 meeting to ask for approval. He said there are currently 32 infants and 21 toddlers on a waiting list for St. Dominic’s daycare and using all eight classrooms on site, the State of Connecticut Office of Early Childhood could approve the facility for 120 children.
“This goal might seem a little bit high, but when we first requested up to 60 children, we never realized the great need for affordable child daycare,” May told the PZC.
In September 2015, May sought approval to use the former school buildings as a childcare center with up to 60 children, and the PZC approved his request. St. Dominic was once a school with 240 students and after merging with St. Thomas to become Southington Catholic, the vacant buildings became the daycare center. The St. Dominic Child Care Center opened its doors in October 2016 as a state licensed daycare facility with five children.
“We currently have 50 children in the eight months since we have been open,” May said. “We are providing a loving, caring, clean and safe environment for our children.”
The center is located in the rear of St. Dominic’s property at 1050 Flanders Road and operates from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
“The children are dropped off and picked up at staggered times so there’s never any traffic issues and we of course have ample parking,” May said.
Nothing has changed on the property in terms of size, and because the school once held 240 students, it can accommodate the 120-person childcare center. May added that the church has been renovating the facility to meet state requirements.
“We remain an excellent neighbor to the people around us by maintaining our grounds and buildings, and work with our neighbors to address any concerns,” he said.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.