The Payson Community Presbyterian Church has offered child care for more than 100 years. The Stafford House on the church property was built in 1917. It served as a Sunday School building for the area’s children as well as a manse for visiting pastors. It also served as a classroom for the Payson school; a community meeting place for Payson residents; a food bank and a lending library.
That tradition of care for the area’s children will continue when construction is completed on the church’s new Community Child Learning Center. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday, Nov. 1 and youngsters should be occupying the space by mid-2020.
At a September meeting of the Payson Town Council, where the permit fees for the facility were waived, it was announced the building is 4,400 square feet and is expected to cost $900,000 to build.
The new child learning building is the latest step in the church’s efforts to take the word “community” in its name seriously, said Jim Tye in his remarks at the groundbreaking. Tye is an elder with the church and chairs the new building construction committee.
“Even before this church was organized and the log church behind you built in 1935, this site has been a community site ... After the log church was built it continued as a town meeting place. When the present church building was completed in 1979, a deacon’s food pantry was included in the plans.
“Today the Community Presbyterian Church food bank serves 1400 people a month. Also in 1979 some women in the church recognized a need for quality child care in Payson. They convinced the church board to let them establish the first daycare center in Payson using the old log church and the Stafford Sunday School building.
“Today the Community Presbyterian Child Learning Center serves 60 children with a waiting list of 30. Some of our current students are the children and grandchildren of former students.”
Tye said the new building would allow 10 additional children to initially enroll and possibly 10 to 20 more in the future. Additionally, the facility will make it possible to provide infant care.
“The emphasis on community is not just one way. The Payson community also supports CPC. The food bank could not function without volunteers from several other churches. And without money and food from the Payson Area Food Drive, there would not be any food for volunteers to distribute.
“The community effort also applies to construction of the new child learning center building. Although CPC is providing more than half of the funding for the building, without contributions and support of the community we would not be here today. The Payson Town Council waived the building permit fees. John and Sue Wilson contributed a significant amount to the building fund. Local businesses and service clubs have also made donations. The Payson Unified School is renting us a building on Westerly to allow us to keep our enrollment up during construction. We also received a large grant from the National Presbyterian Women group in Louisville, Ky. for $75,000.
“And finally I want to thank our architect Shannon Long and our general contractor Reddin Construction for helping us to get to this point,” Tye said.