By Michelle Ownbey
The Goddard School, a private preschool with nearly 500 locations nationwide, will be opening a location in Springfield later this year. Located in 37 different states, Goddard School serves 65,000 children ages six weeks through six years old.
Barbara Burrows, the local franchisee, has operated the Goddard School in Edwardsville for the past nine years.
“That school is running really well, and I’m ready for a second one,” she said. “I looked in Columbia, Missouri; Liberty, Missouri; and Ankeny, Iowa in addition to Springfield when I was considering a new location. The main reason I ended up in Springfield was to take advantage of shared services between the two locations.”
She explained that she will be able to use many of the same vendors, and even some of the employees might ultimately work out of both locations. Burrows said she is also using the same architecture firm that designed her first location, Henderson Associates Architects out of Edwardsville, based on their familiarity with the Goddard School specifications and safety requirements. However, she is using local firm Joyner Construction as the general contractor, and Bank of Springfield is providing financing for the project.
Initially, Burrows was looking at existing buildings on the market and originally considered the Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Road. “At the end of the day, the renovation number (on that building) was extremely high. I could have done a ground up, brand new school for the price of the renovations,” she said.
Ultimately, she purchased a piece of land at 3411 Hedley Road, which she felt was close enough to have the same demographics she was seeking. The plan now is to construct a new 9,000 square foot building. Burrows said, “We hope to have shovels in the ground in April and have it open in late October or early November.”
Burrows said the facility would employ 30-35 people and about 145 would be enrolled in the preschool. She also explained that while the corporate office, based out of Pennsylvania, has to approve each area, the local franchisees try to incorporate their own theme for each school.
“I’m going to have a Lake Springfield theme,” she said. “I’ve partnered with the Island Bay Yacht Club and I’ll be bringing in sailing to the curriculum. For example, in the classrooms they might learn how to tie all different kinds of knots, and the interior of the building will be all about the lake. We want to have things that the community can identify with.”