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Daycare, preschool children see first day in new digs at Christian church in Scappoose

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Children gather around a corner of the new daycare room at Grace Lutheran Churchs childrens center in Scappoose.  A childrens wing of the building was recently rebuilt after a kitchen fire at the site back in June. The sound of children gathering around toys and huddling together on a bright colored rug signaled a successful rebuild at Grace Lutheran Church in Scappoose.

After a kitchen fire destroyed a whole wing of the children's center building in June, the church's kitchen, daycare and preschool areas had to be rebuilt.

On Wednesday, Jan. 2, kids entered the newly revived daycare room for the first time.

Gail Walker, board chair of Grace Lutheran's children's program, led the way down a hallway, pointing out a new washing machine and dryer combo in a closet, before opening the door to a revamped preschool room, where desk areas and corners for playing and reading sat pristine. The smell of new flooring permeated each room.

The church's daycare program is currently at full capacity and the Grace Lutheran Children's Center — which hosts roughly 140 kids, ranging in age from toddlers to high school teens — for months shared a single room in the Fellowship Hall.

"There was a divider here for the different age groups," Walker points out in one of the rooms, where high school seniors help watch over some of the kids, offering tutoring when needed.

Aside from hosting daycare children for the first time in the new room after rebuilding, Wednesday also marked the first day for the church's newly installed pastor, Joshua Wiley.

Grace Lutheran Church will host a special open house and meet-and-greet later this month for the new pastor.

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