Caboose Renovation Project


Exciting news: With the Oberlin Caboose Project, we have begun an ambitious program of improving and expanding our outdoor education programs!

Oberlin Caboose Project -- the current state of the C & O caboose prior to the renovation.
The Oberlin Early Childhood Center caboose in 2021.

The C & O Caboose, located for nearly thirty years behind the OECC building at 317 East College Street, in Oberlin, is being completely renovated by Matt Lunsford of Lunsford Group, LLC. The 1920’s era caboose was generously gifted to the center’s children by Eric Nord of the Lorain County Nord Family Foundation.

“This renovation project is a first step toward strengthening OECC’s position as an important provider of Nature-Based Education to children in our area,” said David Sonner, Board Member for the center. “Our ultimate goal is to utilize the amazing resources and beautiful outdoor space at the childhood center to help connect children to nature and increase their innate qualities of curiosity, risk-taking and appreciation and understanding of food sourcing.”

We are considering these enhancements as additional pathways toward achieving our goals:

  • outdoor classrooms
  • solar energy
  • a sensory garden
  • state-of-the-art teacher training and certification

Linda Hoptry, Board Member for OECC, said “We have so many people to thank for their inspiration and help with the renovation project – The City of Oberlin, Bendix Corporation Commercial Vehicle Systems, Midwest Railway Preservation Society, our board members but especially the children, their families and past and present staff, who have shown love and respect for that old caboose over the years.”

Oberlin Early Childhood Center’s focus is to provide high-quality, child-centered education for families and children aged 6 weeks to Pre-K, regardless of their income levels.

We are a National Academy of Early Childhood Programs accredited school and maintain a Five-Star Rating for Ohio’s Step Up to Quality program.

Our teachers have an average tenure of more than ten years. OECC has been a community partner in Oberlin since 1968. The center’s staff and board roster include individuals who attended OECC as children.

The OECC encourages everyone to celebrate with them on these important efforts being made toward achieving their goals.

“Keep an eye on us to stay updated on our good work going forward for children and families in the Oberlin and Lorain County community,” said Hoptry.

If you would like to help support us in our work, please consider a donation. The center has current enrollment openings for children and families and employment opportunities for staff.

For more information, please contact OECC Board Chair, Ellen Mavrich at ellenmavrich@gmail.com or 412-818-4600. View all board members.


Check out the great coverage on the Caboose Project from The Chronicle-Telegram!