A Portland preschool and childcare chain plans to open a location in a former administration building of Concordia University, on the corner of NE 30th Avenue and Ainsworth.
Pipster Prep owner Tessa Steinberg said the new school, at 5949 NE 30th Ave., is tentatively set to open in February.
Steinberg and her husband David Steinberg recently bought the singlestory 8,000-square-foot building and are planning a full renovation.
Steinberg said she’s most excited about bringing the outside in with skylights in the common areas and a roll-up door to connect indoor play with a new, large outdoor play space where a parking lot currently exists. “And a large bathroom with eight stalls will be SOOO nice,” she said
Steinberg said she is excited to see the architectural plans come to life. Most refurbished buildings limit design possibilities because of existing conditions that are hard to change. But the 1959 property is a “cement square” upon which she can make her design dreams come true. “This will definitely be our nicest location,” Steinberg said. “And the street is perfect. I love Ainsworth.”
Concordia will be Steinberg’s first location to provide care to children ages 1 and older. Her other four locations enroll children ranging in age from 2 or 3 to 5.
Steinberg, who until recently lived in Concordia, said she was inspired to expand her business into infant care after the birth of her son, as she struggled mightily to find care for him. “We are in dire need for more care in this area,” Steinberg said.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of centers and dispersal of the workforce, a 2020 Oregon State University report prepared for Oregon’s Department of Education Early Learning Division labeled all 36 Oregon counties to be “childcare deserts” for children ages 0 to 2. A desert is defined as an area with more than three children for every one licensed child care slot. For parents, the lack of supply translates to high prices, wait lists and lots of frustration.
Concordia resident Adrienne Newton’s son Mason attends Pipster Prep’s Northeast preschool on Killingsworth Street. It has a long wait list, and it was Newton’s third try at finding the right place for her oldest son.
“When Mason walked into the classroom, he fell in love,” she said. “He got his ‘joie de vivre’ back. They think they’re having all this fun, but really, they’re learning. He’s so happy.”
Newton said she’s thrilled about the new location that will be just a few blocks from her house and is planning to send her youngest son when it opens. “I can walk Lucas to Pipster and Mason to Faubion [School],” Newton said. “It just fulfills my dream of having this little community so close.”
To learn more about Pipster Prep, visit PipsterPrep.com.
Leigh Shelton is the new lead ad representative for CNews. She loves raising her three children in Concordia and doing yoga nidra. For advertisement inquiries, contact Leigh at CNewsBusiness@ConcordiaPDX.org.