RUTLAND – A large day care hopes to open in the former Dana School building.
As renovations continue at the school-turned-recreation center-turned apartment and business complex at the corner of East and East Center streets, Tareka Hand has applied for a zoning variance to open a day care serving “59+” children.
The neighborhood is zoned residential, though the building housed a day care and a handful of other businesses when it was owned by the city and served as headquarters to the recreation department.
Developer Joe Giancola, who bought the building in 2013, tried to get the city to change the zoning for it so the previous sorts of uses would be permitted, but the Board of Aldermen declined to make such a change, leaving Giancola to seek appropriate variances as potential tenants arise.
Hand did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Reached Thursday, Giancola said he was talking to a second potential tenant interested in opening a day care at Dana, and renovations at the building were continuing.
“We’ve fixed all the outside, and we’re starting on the inside,” he said.
Giancola said he has replaced the ceilings and is in the process of putting in new gas boilers and LED lighting.
He said he expects six apartments will be available in the fall. Each is built out of one of the old classrooms, he said, with a 16-by-16 bedroom in the corner and a galley kitchen converted from the old coat closets.
Built in the early 1900s, the Dana building served as a “temporary” home to the recreation department for more than a decade before Mayor Christopher Louras ordered it closed for fire code violations in 2011.
Giancola initially paid $50,000 for the building, but got the city to give him $50,000 back when it was found that much of the copper piping had been stolen from the basement while it was vacant.