in Kent is ready to start construction on a new preschool for ages 3 through 5 at the catholic school's Portage Street location.
The Kent Planning Commission approved site plans for the project Tuesday night. The planning board's approval comes after the preschool's request for by the Kent Board of Zoning Appeals in September 2011.
Eric Newland, the architect for the new preschool, said they plan to incorporate environmentally sustainable elements, including a green roof, water garden and vegetable garden.
"Most of the water from the roof … will drip onto the green roof where it is absorbed," Newland said. "And whatever is not absorbed goes into cisterns where we can use it for the vegetable garden. We’re really trying to be congizant of stormwater.”
Newland said the vegetable garden will be on a raised deck and used to teach children about sustainability. A water garden will be built next to the new school to absorb storm water run-off.
The two-story, 7,000 square foot preschool will include classrooms for 3 and 4 year olds with a multi-purpose room that will be available to the community after school hours. It will include a sign printed in white letters on a green awning.
"We want to match the character to the neighborhood and keep this very residential looking because it’s in a residential district," Newland said.
Angela Davis, the preschool project coordinator, said it will have a maximum of 72 students and they expect to have seven employees to start.
She said previously that on the new preschool by September. The school will demolish a garage on site to make way for the new building.
The three members of the planning commission voted unanimously to approve the project Tuesday.
Commission member Anthony Catalano commended the school for its sustainable approach.
"I know it’s not the cheapest route to go," he said. "I wish more new buildings in Kent would follow suit."