Day care center could move into former Griffin school

Published on Saturday, 9 November 2013 23:07 - Written by By Emily Guevara

The old Griffin Elementary School campus could soon be home to a day care center if Tyler ISD board members agree to the change.

The board is scheduled to vote on a lease agreement with the North Tyler Day Nursery for a portion of the old Griffin campus, at 3000 N. Border Ave.

The nursery serves more than 50 children between the ages of 18 months and 5 years. It also serves children up to age 13 for its afterschool program.

The old Griffin facility has been vacant since 2010, when the school moved into its new campus on North Broadway Avenue.

The lease would allow the nursery to use one wing of 12 classrooms, an office and the cafeteria on the campus.

The move is a necessity because the nursery has lost its site lease agreement with the Old Manor Apartments near the Texas College campus.

Jim Wooldridge, president of the North Tyler Day Nursery board, said about two years ago the apartment owners sold the complex to a Dallas company and that company wanted to make some changes such as adding a gate, community clubhouse and pool.

They want to put the clubhouse where the day care is and the gate would complicate drop-off and pickup for parents, Wooldridge said.

With that impetus, the board went ahead with plans for the move and everything fell into place, Wooldridge said.

“This is the most exciting thing we’ve ever done, probably the largest move this day care’s ever done in 74 years,” he said.

Wooldridge said the city and the school district have been very helpful through the process.

The Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved the change of the zoning for the old Griffin site from two-family residential district to planned commercial development district.

Michael Howell, the city’s senior planner, wrote in an email that schools are allowed by right in all zoning districts, but day care centers require commercial zoning.

The city’s staff supported the zoning change in this case “because it could allow the day care while restricting other commercial uses such as a gas station or restaurant,” Howell wrote.

In addition, the school district met with community members and, based on their feedback, agreed to a site plan that would restrict the property’s uses to a day care center, preschool, kindergarten, elementary school or secondary school, Howell wrote.

The council is scheduled to vote on the zoning change at its Wednesday meeting. 

The move would pave the way for growth. The nursery is licensed to serve 63 children in the current building, which has three rooms.

Wooldridge said their licensing representative told them they could easily serve more than 200 children in their portion of the Griffin campus. He said any enrollment increase would occur gradually.

TISD spokeswoman Dawn Parnell said the board will review the lease agreement on Monday. If approved by the board, it would be effective Dec. 1.

The workshop is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in the Dr. Jack L. Davidson Conference Center in the Jim Plyler Instructional Complex, 807 W. Glenwood Blvd.