Published On: Thu, Jun 8th, 2017

Daycare Center getting closer to reality

RANDOLPH —  A new Randolph child development center is now a step closer to reality.
Randolph School Board members met May 31 with five audience members including Randolph Community Development Director Gary Van Meter, who delivered a working copy of a business plan for the “Cardinals Child Development Center.’’
Daycare space within the elementary building for a daycare program was tabled following discussion.
“I feel this effort can be successful. This is a game changer for our town,’’ Van Meter said. “We have secured $9.000 in grants from USDA for the windows.’’
A business plan for a child center has been completed by Van Meter. Other individuals Van Meter credits with involvement in the project included Jason Schmit, Jen Van Meter and Josh Rayford.
“We appreciate the work that Mary Miller and Jeff Hoesing have completed on this project,’’ Mark Korth said.
“There are three in-home licensed childcare providers, a few small in-home unlicensed providers and no child care centers in Randolph,’’ Van Meter said in his report. “These  existing childcare options in Randolph are unable to meet the needs of the community. Three separate surveys have determined the community is in desperate need for high quality, educationally stimulating, reliable childcare. Along with Randolph residents, this project will also serve the needs of the surrounding communities including Knox, Pierce and Wayne counties.’’
“The Cardinals Child Development Center will provide a greatly needed service, create jobs and stimulate the local labor market. By providing affordable, reliable and effective child care services, present and prospective employers will be able to recruit and retain employees knowing their children are in safe, nurturing and educationally stimulating environment,’’ Van Meter said.
“Our goal is to build a non-profit Child Care facility to provide a first class child care center, while assembling a team of dedicated child care providers. Services offered will provide for the needs of children, parents and employers in Randolph and the surrounding community. Our target enrollment is to provide care for 40 children within five years,’’ Van Meter said. “This group will locate a facility suitable for providing the needs for a high level of child care to be open for operation with building guidelines set forth in Nebraska Child Care Licensure and ADA requirements.”
“A starting enrollment of at least 20 children is expected with some room for part time children prior to the facility opening,’’ Van Meter said.
One goal is to have the financial resources to staff and furnish the facility and have an endowment established to ensure sustainability of operations for the needs of area children.
Another goal is the increase enrollment to 40 children in five years with approved state ratios.
The center will include Title XX low income assistance service and potential scholarships. The group will obtain Nebraska Child Care Licensure and meet ADA accessibility regulations prior to opening.
Van Meter said this child care center will have a far reaching impact on local businesses and their ability to recruit and retain employees by providing this essential service.
“This center will create additional employment opportunities for the residents of the Randolph community. The childcare center will require  four-five new employment positions upon opening and more to be added as the enrollment of children increases,’’ Van Meter said.
“Randolph School District #45 is donating the space and facility updates for the childcare facility. The City Council has agreed to provide assistance in start up and discussion continues for future in-kind benefits, that are as yet unknown, that will be encountered,” Van Meter said.
“The Center will be run by a director who is responsible to the board of directors. The director will be responsible for staff and day-to-day operations of the facility. The Director and Board of Directors will provide risk management for the facility,’’ Van Meter said.
“Broad-based community support has been and will continue to be solicited to ensure the success of this facility. Current local business and organizations that have expressed support for this project include First State Bank of Randolph, Randolph School District #45, City of Randolph, Randolph Community Foundation Fund, Randolph ROAR as well as local businesses and private individuals,’’ Van Meter said.
Ages of children will be 6 weeks to 4-5 year olds with future expansion into after-school program. Hours planned are 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, except holidays.
“Through Community Action Planning completed in December 2012 and a Community Needs Assessment completed in November 2014 it has been determined there is strong need for child care in this community. A survey was conducted in June 2015 and again in 2016 which again provided strong evidence of need,’’ Van Meter said.
The expense for forming a 501(c) (3) as a non-profit organization has been cooperatively provided by the City and School District.
A director will be hired within one month, or sooner if funding permits, prior to opening to insure continuity and direction during the start up stages.
Other expenses prior to opening include advertising, recruitment and training. Anticipated cost of start-up is $40,000.
A $10,000 grant is available to the facility upon licensure by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Additional sources will be $13,000 for start-up from a revolving loan. Additional funding will be provided from a bank loan and or donations to the tax deductible, not-for-profit corporation for any budget shortfall as plans are finalized. Other grant opportunities will be submitted.
Cardinals Child Development Center Inc. has been organized for the purpose of hiring and administrating a 501(c)(3) non-profit childcare center.
Board members for the Child Center include Mark Korth, farm owner and lifelong resident of Randolph; Mary Miller, elementary school principal and teacher; Josh Rayford, independent business person and chair of the Randolph Community Foundation and president of Cardinals Child Development Center; Dan Tunink, independent business owner for 40 years and lifelong resident of Randolph; Gary Van Meter, independent business owner for 28 years, undergraduate and MBA at Wayne State College and teacher in many capacities; Jen Van Meter, UNL graduate administrator and principal; Kim Wattier, graduate of Wayne State College and owner of Randolph and Laurel True Value hardware stores for 25 years and active community volunteer.
“We are still looking for another individual with an education background to serve on this project,’’ Van Meter said.