PITTSFIELD -- The former KB Toys building on West Street will soon have a new tenant.
The Mildred Elley School, a for-profit career training institution, will move from its current campus at 505 East St. to the four-story 70,000-square foot structure in early 2013. The move will not interrupt class schedules for current Mildred Elley students.
President Faith A. Takes characterized Mildred Elley’s decision to move to 100 West St. as a "win-win" for both students and the community at large,
"This will allow us to expand our campus and provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for our students," Takes said in a statement.
She said the new campus will also help revitalize downtown Pittsfield, and allow students and staff to spend more money in the middle of the city, "which will provide an economic boost to the downtown businesses."
After sitting vacant for three years, the KB Toys building was purchased in April for $1.1 million by RKE Realty, which is associated with Laurin Publishing of Pittsfield.
At the time of the sale, company president Thomas F. Laurin said Laurin Publishing planned to occupy only about a third of the massive structure, and would lease the rest of the building to tenants. Laurin could not be reached for comment.
Mildred Elley, based in Albany, N.Y., was founded in 1917. The school opened its Pittsfield branch with 30 students in 1991. Enrollment is now more than 200.
"We are extremely excited about this upcoming move," said Lori Houlihan, the president of Mildred Elley’s Pittsfield branch. "This building will have new medical labs, a model day care room, and updated facilities to meet the needs of our students.
"This is a time of growth and opportunity for our campus and our students and we are so pleased to be a part of providing a quality education to individuals in the Berkshire community," Houlihan said.
When Mildred Elley first established its campus in Pittsfield, the school worked in conjunction with the Berkshire Training and Employment Pro gram (now known as BerkshireWorks) to establish a medical assisting program for displaced workers. The school originally rented space in St. Mark School on Columbus Avenue.
Mildred Elley currently offers nine programs in six academic areas, and established an online division last March.
Students who attend classes in Pittsfield are eligible to transfer to Mildred Elley’s campus in Albany to earn an associate’s degree.
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