Prison transformed into preschool in Lorton

Where life once ended for many people is where it is just getting started for our most precious population — children.

The Brynmor Early Education and Preschool is now calling the former Lorton Prison home.

It’s the latest business birthed on grounds once considered the most violent and overcrowded prisons nationwide.

The exterior, the windows, the surrounding walls, and even the watch towers are part of the original Lorton Prison structure.

In fact, the buildings housing the Brynmor Early Education and Preschool were once maximum security facilities with 23-hour lockdowns for inmates.

More than two decades later, it’s the beginning of another new chapter on the old Lorton Prison grounds. The childcare center opened to the public Monday.

The space is about one-third full and filled with state-of-the-art digs including light-filled rooms, STEM-themed toys, and activity centers. And if you didn’t already know, you wouldn’t guess it was once a prison with a dark history and past.

The Lorton Prison was forced to shut down back in 2001 reportedly over its deplorable conditions, violence amongst inmates, and extreme overcrowding.

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Prison transformed into preschool in Lorton 

Since then, developers have come to build residential communities, homes, small businesses, shopping centers, and now a preschool.

Brynmor founder and creator Rhian Allvin says she named the center in honor of her Welsh heritage. Brynmor means great hill in Welsh. It’s a reminder of the work that lies ahead, transforming and removing the stigma surrounding the Lorton Prison and the desperate need for childcare in the area.

Allvin told FOX 5, that they wanted to “prove a point” opening Brynmor.

“What better point to prove than taking what was a place of trauma and violence and turning it into light and opportunity for young children?” she said. 

The childcare center has 15 scholarships available for families earning between $69-$120,000 a year.

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