Belchertown Day School receiving $1M state grant

Money to fund construction of indoor, outdoor play space

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – A non-profit organization in Belchertown has received a $1 million grant to construct a new building on the campus of the former Belchertown State School.

The Belchertown Day School provides day-long toddler care and pre-school, as well as before school and after-school programs for school-aged children as old as 12. They are currently set up in a temporary location, behind a doctor’s office.

This $1 million grant will help them build a permanent school where the former Belchertown State School used to be. The Day School still needs to raise another $1 million dollars to cover the cost of the project.

School-Age Director Heidi Gutekenst told 22News all 120 children in the program will be able to finally learn under one bigger, better roof.

“I feel like we’ll be able to take so much more advantage of what we have and the space we have, and the kids – there’s areas where they can do things. We’re going to be able to do what we’re intended to do instead of trying to fit it in to where we are,” Gutekenst said.

According to a news release sent to 22News by the office of Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), the grant money- funded with state tax dollars- comes from the Early Education and Out of School Time program. As its name suggests, the program is designed to fund renovations and improvements to early education facilities.

“I am thrilled that our community has been awarded this grant to build brand-new facilities for early education programs,” Lesser said. “As we know, early education for toddlers and pre-schoolers is the best way to get our children on the path to success. This grant will allow us to do that, and will greatly benefit the children and families of Belchertown.”

A date to start construction hasn’t been set yet. The new school will open in fall 2019.