Lebanon – The new child care center at the River Valley Club is currently under construction, and it will have a sprinkler system.
Though the club’s owner Joe Asch still maintains that the Lebanon Planning Board overreached by requiring the sprinklers, the building will include the system so it can open this summer as planned, he said in a phone interview on Monday.
So far, the building — which sits on a lot adjacent to the existing club in Centerra business park — has a roof, walls, windows and doors.
Asch said he examined his legal options for appealing the board’s site plan approval — which requires the sprinklers — but determined it would take too long and might not necessarily result in a different outcome.
“(We’ve) folded our tent here and given up,” he said.
The board granted Asch approval in July for the construction of a new child care center that could hold up to 186 children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.
Jenn Parker, the center’s director, said she, her staff and the families they serve are looking forward to having a larger space specifically built for them. The staff and the 83 children they care for currently are housed in classrooms within the River Valley Club.
The new 9,400-square-foot, single-story building has doors for each classroom leading to the parking lot, making it easier for parents to drop off and pick up their children. Each classroom will also have a door to the playground on the other side of the building.
Parker said she is particularly excited to be able to integrate the outdoors into the center’s programing to “bring kids in touch with nature.”
As part of the July decision, at the request of the Lebanon Fire Department, the board included the sprinkler requirement.
The fire department said sprinklers are necessary because of the young age of the children anticipated to be in the building and the length of time it would take firefighters to reach the facility.
Though at the time of the initial approval Asch agreed to install the sprinklers, he reconsidered and sought permission to construct the building without the sprinklers.
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