A Short History of the Mansfield Discovery Depot
(Formerly known as Mansfield Day Care Center)
· In 1969 the Mansfield League of Women Voters conducted a survey of social service needs and the day care center was a recommended service in their final report of 1971.
· The Preschool program was begun in October of 1970 in the First Baptist Church and was supported and funded through the State Department of Community Affairs. The stated mission of the center, in line with funding from the state, was to serve children “disadvantaged by reasons of economic, social or environmental conditions.” The center’s funding was received through the Windham Area Community Action Program (WACAP).
· MDCC felt that the purposes of the center would be better served if the Town were its delegate agency and its space was in a town facility. Following the work of a special committee and a public hearing, on May 8th, 1973 the Town Council voted unanimously to become the sponsor of MDCC. Renovations were made to the Storrs Grammar School and on October 1st, 1973 the doors were opened at our new quarters. (26 enrolled with space for 45)
· In 1978 the day care center moved to the Buchanan Center. Again the site turned out to be a temporary home. In 1984 MDCC was moved to space in the Southeast School building and shared the space with EastConn. The MDCC staff collaborated with the EastConn staff to run some unique cooperative programs that benefited the children in both programs. A few years later the day care again needed to move on. A committee went to work looking for suitable sites in town. None were readily available. A temporary home in the Middle School was negotiated and the staff again packed boxes and in the summer of 1988 the program moved to a wing of the Mansfield Middle School. At the same time a committee continued to work towards establishing a permanent home for the program. The University of Connecticut determined that their own need for day care was acute. They joined the effort and in collaboration with the Town of Mansfield accessed land and funds to build an early childhood building from the ground up. Following a town referendum in which support was expressed for the town to apply for bond funds for the project, the committee began working with an architectural firm to design a uniquely beautiful and functional building.
· Finally we had our own building in the fall of 1991 and the program’s name was officially changed to Mansfield Discovery Depot. The program expanded to include a small infant/toddler program and more preschool enrollment. In the 1994-95 school year the program began an all day kindergarten. The program still receives state funding and serves a wide cross section of the community.
· Currently Mansfield Discovery Depot serves more than 100 families:
12 Infants, 32 Toddlers, 2 Preschool Classrooms of 20 and
1 Preschool/Kindergarten classroom of 20.