Selectmen extend preschool lease at former Manchaug Library
By Amanda Collins
Sutton – At their meeting last week, selectmen unanimously approved renewing a lease that will allow Puckihuddle Preschool to remain in their location at the former Manchaug Library for another 25 years, at a first year’s rent of $12,000 with 3 percent increases per year.
The non-profit preschool has been “great neighbors to the Manchaug neighborhood and nothing but great tenants to the town,” town administrator Jim Smith told the board in recommending the lease extension.
Puckihuddle first leased out the vacant library across from Manchaug Mills in a three-year agreement that’s been extended twice. The town sought a non-profit lessee that would use the building for educational purposes.
The renewal represents a triple net lease with three separate, but longer, terms. The initial 10-year term runs through August 2025, the second through 2035, and the final term a five-year extension to August 2040.
George Watson, president and chairman of the Puckihuddle board of directors, and also a Sutton resident, was in favor of the long-term lease, as he said it provided “some comfort for the future, not having to renegotiate every five years.”
“The nice part for the town is that there’s nothing we have to worry about with the building going forward, it’s all the responsibility of Puckihuddle,” said Smith.
In the past, the town spent money to repair the boiler and water leaks in the facility, but during the lease period, the town will not be responsible for any maintenance, repairs or upgrades to the building. Sutton officials have the right to enter the property on an annual basis to inspect building conditions and to ensure that its upkeep.
Day-to-day operations at Puckihuddle are overseen by the program director. The preschool operates two classrooms, one on each floor of the building, and is looking to extend offerings beyond its traditional hours as enrollment grows, said Watson.
Currently, about 70 children attend programs there.
“I think it’s a win-win for the town of Sutton and I think it’s nice to have the place utilized,” said Selectman John Hebert, echoing the thoughts of the rest of the board. “It’s really good for the village of Manchaug.”