Countryside Montessori School Faces Parking Lot Hurdle in Clark Lake

Diane and Brad Smith are opening a Montessori school in Clark Lake, Michigan, after purchasing a 150-year-old former church. A parking lot dispute has complicated their plans, forcing them to enroll fewer students.

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Nitish Verma
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Countryside Montessori School Faces Parking Lot Hurdle in Clark Lake

Countryside Montessori School Faces Parking Lot Hurdle in Clark Lake

Diane and Brad Smith remain steadfast in their mission to open the new Montessori school in Clark Lake, Michigan, despite a parking lot dispute that has complicated their plans. The couple purchased the former Clarklake Community Church, a 150-year-old institution that closed its doors in December 2020, in May 2023 with the vision of transforming it into a Montessori school.

Why this matters: The fate of the Countryside Montessori School has implications for the local community, as it would provide a unique educational option for families in the area. Moreover, the success of this school could set a precedent for repurposing historic buildings and revitalizing community spaces.

Located at 9224 Hyde Road, the Smiths have been diligently working to convert the church building into a suitable educational facility since acquiring it last year. They anticipated enrolling around 100 students, which necessitated the need for adequate parking facilities to accommodate the school's population.

Theparking lot disputehas presented a significant challenge for the Smiths, threatening to delay or even derail their plans to open the Montessori school. Details of the dispute and the parties involved have not been disclosed, but it is clear that resolving this issue is crucial for the school's future.

Montessori education, developed by Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori in the early 20th century, emphasizes hands-on learning, self-directed activity, and collaborative play. The method has gained popularity worldwide, with many parents seeking out Montessori schools for their children's education.

The Smiths' determination to open the Countryside Montessori School reflects their commitment to providing a quality Montessori education to the Clark Lake community. As they navigate the parking lot dispute, the couple remains focused on their goal of creating a nurturing and stimulating learning environment for their future students.