PITTSFIELD -- It's taken longer than expected, but Mildred Elley, a for-profit career training institution, is finally ready to move into its new campus in the former KB Toys building at 100 West St.

The school will officially move from its current campus at 505 East St. during Memorial Day weekend, according to school spokeswoman Britania Weinstein.

Mildred Elley's summer term will begin at the East Street campus on May 14. But school President Faith Takes said it is expected classes will be held on the West Street campus beginning on May 27, the day after Memorial Day.

"We hope to have students sitting in classrooms on May 27," Takes said. "We would have been in there for the beginning of the summer term, but the IT is tricky."

Mildred Elley's new campus will be located on the first floor of the three-story, 70,000-square-foot structure, said Thomas Laurin, who purchased the then vacant building in 2012. KB Toys went out of business in 2010 after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in late 2009.

"We're happy to have them," Laurin said. "Construction is under full steam."

The first floor contains 17,000 square feet, according to Laurin. Takes said Mildred Elley will have access to 25,000 square feet at its new campus. It currently utilizes 14,000 square feet on East Street.

Mildred Elley has a 10-year contract with RKE Realty, Laurin's management company.

The Albany, N.Y.


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-based school announced in November 2012 it planned to move into its new campus in early 2013, and began announcing the move in banners it placed around Pittsfield.

But the banners came down last fall after the move was delayed. Takes said several things contributed to the delay, but a major reason was two accrediting agencies did not give Mildred Elley the permission to operate a practical nurse program at its Pittsfield campus until last October.

"How we design this space has a lot to do with our nursing programs," Takes said. "That approval which we hoped would come in early 2013 came late in 2013. We didn't want to redesign it."

It also took time to design the ductwork in the new space to provide proper ventilation for the school's cosmetology program.

"We had to change our plans a half-dozen times," Takes said.

According to Mildred Elley, its new campus will be wired for state-of-the-art technology. It will have both classrooms, including two computer labs, and office space. It is designed to accommodate a continued expansion of student enrollment.

"We are very excited about moving to our new beautiful location," said Annette Jeffes, who became the director of Mildred Elley's Pittsfield campus in April.

Mildred Elley opened its Pittsfield campus in 1991 with 30 students. The Pittsfield campus currently offers degree and certificate programs in nine separate disciplines, and has around 225 students, according to Wein stein. Founded in 1917, Mil dred Elley has a total of 1,700 students on four campuses.

This is Mildred Elley's third location in Pittsfield. The school originally rented space in St. Mark School on Columbus Avenue before moving to East Street.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com
(413) 496-6224