Spruce Tree Montessori Buys Historic Fairbanks Train Depot

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Sabrina Binkley, Executive Director of Spruce Tree Montessori, stands for an interview inside the school during 2015. Spruce Tree recently acquired the former Fairbanks Train Depot and will open inside the new location in September.

Spruce Tree Montessori School announced their purchased of the historic Fairbanks Train Depot located behind the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. The building was acquired from Dean Singleton, former owner of the News-Miner. The sale was officially closed on December 29, 2015.

The new location will allow Spruce Tree Montessori to double its capacity for preschool, kindergarten and elementary programs. It will also provides for a possible future expansion for junior high and adolescent programming.

“It’s great to see Spruce Tree move deeper into the heart of Fairbanks,” said Chelsea Steele, a downtown property owner. “It’s going to be a real positive for downtown.”

While Steele is a board member of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks she is also a new mom. “I hope to send my daughter Clara there when she’s old enough,” Steele said. “It’s wonderful to have another family-friendly space in downtown Fairbanks.”

Renovations will commence this spring to re-purpose the historic landmark to include two Children’s House classrooms (age 3 – 6 years), a large elementary classroom (1st – 6th grades), a gym and multipurpose space, full kitchen, and a library and technology room. A new teacher work space will also be included in the renovations.

The exterior will also be remodeled, converting the front parking lot into a green play and activity area, as well as a garden and outdoor classroom space.

The school will open in its new location for the first day of school on September 6, 2016. The former depot is located at 280 N. Cushman Street.