Killgore Kiddie Kamp's Pamela Loguzzo helps children with a puzzle

Kilgore Kiddie Kamp's Pamela Loguzzo helps children with jigsaw puzzles on Thursday, May 8, 2014. The family owned business will be closing after 42 years. (Roger Wilson / Staff Photographer / May 9, 2014)

Burbank preschool teacher Connie Pereida turned on the lights at Killgore Kiddie Kamp and a couple dozen children woke up ready to sing songs, eat snacks and play in the sandbox before the end of the school day.

It would be one of the last times the preschoolers would wake up from nap time at Killgore, as the decades-old schoolhouse will be torn down in the coming months to make room for a parking lot for an adjacent medical office building.

The three sisters who run the school agreed to sell the property after getting an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Even so, it’s been hard to say goodbye to the decades of memories.

“I have never felt that I didn’t want to go to work,” said co-owner Pamela Loguzzo, tearing up. “It’s always been a pleasure.”

For some Burbank families, two generations of preschoolers have attended Killgore.

“It’s a big thing for us to close our doors,” said Armonda Garcia, Loguzzo’s sister who co-owns and helps run the school. “It’s huge, very emotional.”

In fact, she met her husband more than 30 years ago at Killgore after he, a single father at the time, enrolled his 2-year-old son there.

The school was founded in 1943 by Nina Killgore, who saw a growing demand for day-care services in Burbank during World War II when women worked at Lockheed and Saint Joseph Medical Center, while their husbands went to war, according to Pereida, who wrote a paper on the school while completing her master’s degree.

In those years, the day care was open 24 hours a day, Loguzzo said.

When Killgore died in 1983, the three sisters, all Burbank natives who worked their first jobs at different preschools as teenagers, took over the business.

In 1987, they moved into the cottage-like schoolhouse nestled behind a white gate at 2207 W. Burbank Blvd.

Inside, bright, colorful walls are decorated with kid-friendly characters — all painted by Loguzzo’s son —such as Woody from “Toy Story,” Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. Loguzzo’s two sons attended Killgore as toddlers, and her parents also worked at the school.

“I almost cried when I heard that they were closing,” said Burbank resident Lekiesha Mossiah, whose 3-year-old daughter attends Killgore. “They’ve almost become like part of my family.”

In 1991, a fire at the school didn’t force the sisters to close down. They temporarily ran operations out of their own homes while they rebuilt the schoolhouse.

“They treat my daughter like she’s their own, it’s really nice,” said Jennifer Reyes, whose 3-year-old daughter, Lyndsey, has been attending Killgore for a year.

Toward the end of the day, Loguzzo, who plans to open a vintage thrift store called “Pammy’s Pastime” in the coming months, asked her students to fill take-home crates with the many plastic toys children have played with at Killgore.

“I’m trying to find good homes for everything I have here,” she said.

She has to move out of the school, which she calls “paradise,” making reference to the lyrics to Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi,” by the end of the month.

“They paved paradise to put up a parking lot,” she said.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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