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Ortiz preschool approved to open in Birmingham

By Grace Lovins

A new preschool called Ortiz Educare is coming to 1160 Grant Street in Birmingham after receiving unanimous special land use permit and final site plan and design review approval from the Birmingham City Commission on Monday, July 25.

Ortiz Educare is proposed to offer preschool services to children between the ages of three and five, and only host 12-16 students at one time. The intended drop off time for the school will be at 9 a.m., with a staggered pick up offered at 12 p.m. or between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., with no services offered on weekends.

Amy Ortiz, a former teacher for Birmingham Public Schools (BPS), noted during the preschool’s review with the planning board on Wednesday, June 8, it has been her lifelong dream to open her own preschool in her hometown. When the pandemic first arose, Ortiz shifted from working in BPS to operating her own preschool out of her home.

“I was a lead preschool teacher at Quarton Elementary and then the pandemic hit and I had two kids in college, so not working wasn't an option. I was fortunate enough to license our home and it’s been licensed for the last year-and-a-half. I’ve had an amazing small program and I have a waitlist and this opportunity came about and I’m thrilled to move forward and open Ortiz Educare in town,” Ortiz stated.

Patrick Howe, attorney for Ortiz, affirmed that the drop off and pick up of students will not generate an influx of traffic in the parking lot of the plaza, and that the hours of the school are compatible with the other uses of the shopping center. “It will be really just a drop off of your child, someone will escort the child into the building, and the vehicle will leave so it’s not a real busy circular pattern,” Howe stated.

While the application submitted lacked the final photometric plan and sign renderings, it was noted that these could be handled administratively with Howe later mentioning that the sign renderings were submitted the same day but prior to the start of the meeting, and photometric plans were submitted on Wednesday, July 27, for administrative approval.

Plans for the preschool were met with little push-back or commentary from the commission. The commission approved the special land use permit and final site plan and design review in a unanimous 6-0 decision, with mayor pro-tem Pierre Boutros absent from the meeting.


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