By Kevin Kelley
The final preschool, kindergarten and daycare sessions at Murton’s Child Development Center took place Friday.
“It was emotional,” said Richard Read, the father of two boys who attend Murton’s.
As parents learned only three weeks earlier, the preschool is closing because the building is being sold.
However, Read is adamant that Friday’s classes will not be the final chapter in the 56-year-old child care facility’s history.
“The doors have closed, but they’ll open again somewhere else,” Read told West Life.
Read and others associated with Murton’s have scheduled a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at the preschool, located at 21500 Lorain Road. They hope to relaunch Murton’s in a matter of months at a new location in Fairview Park.
Read’s efforts have the backing of Hajni Fekete, Murton’s executive director, who has been with the preschool for 27 years. The goal, Read said, is to reopen with Fekete and many of the 18 staffers who are now without jobs. Read would like to retain the Murton’s name but wants to reopen even if it can’t be obtained.
News of the meeting, which is open to any interested parties, helped lessen the blow of Friday’s closing, said Read, who works as a medical lab assistant at Fairview Hospital.
“People know that things are being done,” Read told West Life. “It’s not the end.”
Read told West Life he received a phone call last week from Steven Furrer, the son-in-law of the late Louis Radice, who owned Murton’s. Furrer is the executor of Radice’s estate. According to Read, Furrer indicated he is
interested in helping Read’s efforts
to reopen Murton’s. Read said he hoped to meet with Furrer in person prior to tonight’s meeting.
Read, who has taken an initial lead in the relaunch efforts, has already looked into financing for a new preschool and daycare center. The Westlake resident said it is his understanding that Murton’s was not only profitable but experiencing growth in recent years. He said no decision has been made on whether the reopened preschool will be a for-profit or nonprofit venture.
Today’s meeting, Read said, will be one-half “pick-me-up” for discouraged parents and staff and one-half serious discussion about what steps need to be taken in order to reopen. For example, commercial kitchen equipment must be obtained to provide meals for children at a new location, Read said.
A native of England, Read said relaunching Murton’s will benefit the community. A full-day daycare and kindergarten facility in Fairview Park available to working parents will be something young families will consider when deciding where to purchase a house, Read explained.