On Friday, Jan. 25, Metro Childcare Center unexpectedly closed its doors, leaving the families and teachers of about 80 children seeking alternatives.
Three days later, Weston resident Melissa Ananais reached out to the building's property manager and toured the site at 63 Fountain St., Framingham.
Within the week, she had signed a lease to launch one of her own early childcare centers in the 7,000-square-foot space.
The Learning Zone, which already operates centers in Weston, Belmont and Waltham, expects to have slots for 102 children and 22 teachers in Framingham as of mid-March.
Ananais, who has owned and operated The Learning Zone continuously since 1994, became aware of Metro's closing when people came into her Weston center in tears, seeking new arrangements.
"I knew we couldn't help families in any of our current centers because all of them are full," she said. "So I drove to Framingham to tour the space and knew this was where our next Learning Zone would be."
Between her three existing sites, Ananais employs about 80 staff members and serves the needs of 342 children ages 1-month to 6 years. She expects to hire 22 employees for the Framingham location.
Ananais has invited the former teachers of the Metro Childcare Center to apply and recently hosted an interview session for several of them.
The demand for quality, center-based childcare is familiar to any parent who has signed onto a waitlist while still in the earliest stages of pregnancy, and Ananais expects the new center to quickly reach full capacity.
Like the three existing sites, the Framingham Learning Zone will be equipped with online cameras via kindercam.com.
Parents receive a secure password allowing them to log on and check on their little ones from any online computer.
Children also experience daily enrichment programming including Tumble Bus, My First Yoga, The Music Man and Binky Bear the Storyteller.