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Ask Matt ... what's opened in Kellogg Center

Cecily Timmons and Lindsay Jalonen are cofounders of Wild Oak Independent School. [MATT MATTESON/Hendersonville Lightning] Cecily Timmons and Lindsay Jalonen are cofounders of Wild Oak Independent School. [MATT MATTESON/Hendersonville Lightning]

Q. What is going into the Kellogg Center on Broyles Road and will the walking trails still be available to the public?

The new tenant is Wild Oak Independent School. It will replace the YMCA of Western North Carolina as the occupant of the Kellogg Center located at 1181 Broyles Road. The YMCA had leased the site for classes for several years and wrapped-up their summer day camp program in August.
Wild Oak’s co-founders, Cecily Timmons and Lindsay Jalonen, have designed three separate schools on the site. The Seedling School is a preschool and kindergarten for kids starting at age three. Wild Oak School will serve children in 1st through 6th grades in the inaugural year and will eventually expand through 8th grade. Also, an Afternoon Academy which is billed as an enrichment program will be offered on-site. Classes at Wild Oak will differ in cost. For example, the tuition for a fifth or sixth grade child is $8,750 per year.
The 46-acre tract was once the summer residence of Kathryn A. Kellogg, who first donated the property to Wake Forest University in 1969. After the property was passed on to UNC-Asheville in 1987, a 50-seat conference center was built on the site and used frequently by nonprofit groups. In recent years a building was added to become the temporary home for the Center of Craft Creativity and Design. A grant from the Perry N. Rudnick Foundation helped build a walking trails on the property in 2002.
Timmons said the school has appealed to parents whose children will benefit from smaller class size and personalized instruction. Having 46 acres of woods and meadows as a learning environment, is also a plus.
“You will hear a lot of ‘grab your raincoats, kids, we’re going outside’ from the teachers, said Timmons, who added that child safety is also a priority. “We heard from parents who were uncomfortable with other schools during Covid and they liked our model.”
UNC-Asheville has given the school a two-year lease charging $30,000 a year with an option to extend. Maintenance of the grounds and trail system will be a joint effort and Timmons said the walking trails will remain open to the public. Dogs are permitted if kept on a leash.
Affixed to the wall in the entrance area of the main Kellogg building is a bronze plaque that honors Sam Neill, who was instrumental in creating the Center. Neill served on the UNC Board of Governors with his term ending in 1997 before his fall from grace. He was convicted and served six years in prison for income tax evasion and embezzling from clients’ trust accounts. A second building known as the “craft center” building will be home to the older students. Because the Kellogg Center is owned by the state, UNC-Asheville pays no property taxes.

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Send questions to askmattm@gmail.com.