Luverne community eagerly awaiting new child care center
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Luverne city leaders have already purchased and hope to soon renovate a childcare center that would be able to support up to 186 kids.
“Lack of daycare is your number one economic development roadblock if you don’t have daycare you don’t have employees that can come to work,” Pat Baustain said, the mayor of Luverne
Baustain was born and raised in Luverne and over the past several years, he and the rest of the economic development authority, have been trying to tackle a growing childcare crisis.
“The challenges of daycare are not easy ones to tackle and 6 years ago we had 51 daycares in our primary market area today we have 29 or 30,” Baustain said.
According to the superintendent of Luverne Public Schools, Craig Oftedahl, the loss of those facilities has been felt by community members.
“A lot of people are making decisions to have children or not have children based on the availability of daycare,” Oftedahl said.
This center wouldn’t entirely fill the need for child care in the community, but it would certainly help. Especially with the ability to support up to 24 infants.
“That’s a lot when you’re limited to two or three infants at an in-home daycare, that’s an opportunity for growth in a community,” Baustain said.
the center will need 35 full-time employees in order to operate at full capacity, and it will offer competitive wages.
“The number one issue of daycares closing is they can’t keep employees. We know that we have to pay them a good wage, and we know that we have to offer benefits in order to keep quality employees,” Baustain said.
The city has been working hand in hand with the non-profit first children’s finance to ensure they are able to secure the funding for this project- as well as making sure it’s also a state-of-the-art learning center.
“If we have a feeder system of an excellent daycare program leading into an excellent school system, that sure sounds like a pretty good recipe for success in the future for our students and our community,” Oftedahl said.
Baustain hopes to begin the renovation process in the spring and have the center open within 12 to 15 months.
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