Archive for Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Ground-breaking set for child-care center

Construction to start soon in McLouth

March 6, 2002

A program three years in the making will be one step closer to reality on Saturday.

The Y.E.S. Center, a childcare organization for children ages infant through 10, will conduct a ground-breaking ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in McLouth.

Youth Extended Services Inc. is a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors that started three years ago. Four board members president Carrie Koch, vice president Cindy Williams, public relations co-chair Linda Heitzman-Powell and member Donna Schupp led the movement for the center.

The Y.E.S. Learning Center will be constructed in downtown McLouth at 109 N. Union St., across from the city hall. Construction will start within 30 days of the groundbreaking, and the center should open in August or September.

"A lot of people have been asking when we're going to open because we've been talking for three years," Koch said. "Now, we can say 'soon.'"

The organization accepts donations, but the bulk of funding comes from grants and loans. A USDA Rural Development Fund will generate $700,000 as a low-interest loan, while SRS childcare development will contribute a $100,000 grant. Another $79,000 comes from the United Methodist Health Ministry fund, which will compensate the director's salary for three years. The USDA grant covers construction, along with architect and lawyer fees and soil testing at the site.

Koch said getting the grants has been an experience.

"The most difficult part was getting the USDA fund and showing statistical information," Koch said. "And proving we could support it in a rural area."

Koch said that once the center is operational, the board could apply for more grants that help established programs.

The center's hours of operations have been tentatively set as 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays, but could change, depending on the needs of parents.

Koch, who has operated home daycare for more than five years, said the center would provide daycare and education for its infants and students. The year-round center will also offer an after-school program, and cater to special-needs children.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.