Rock Rapids, Iowa — The community daycare center in Rock Rapids is bursting at the seams, and waiting lists to get a child into the center are very long. So the nonprofit group that runs the facility, called “Kids Club” is trying to come up with other solutions.
The daycare center was started about 18 years ago and was a department of Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital. That continued for a number of years, through the hospital’s affiliation with what was then Sioux Valley Health System, and has now changed to Sanford Health System. In the middle of the last decade, with some of the changes in medicare reimbursement, Kids Club no longer fit in the hospital’s operations. At that point, Rock Rapids Kids Club was spun off into its own nonprofit corporation.
Now, according to Rock Rapids Economic Development director John Hulshof, city leaders — faced with an expanding preschool population — are planning for the next step.
Hulshof says a new facility, almost double the size of the old one is planned, which will support up to 220 children, and is projected to cost $2 million. The proposed location for the new facility is in east Rock Rapids on the same property as Mid Sioux Opportunity and Head Start.
The application that has been submitted to the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation — the nonprofit that distributes a percentage of the house’s take from Grand Falls Casino and Resort — is for the most that that foundation has ever awarded — one million dollars, to be paid out over 10 years. They should hear whether that request will be granted by February 4th.
Hulshof says in order to get Community Development Block Grant funds, it needs to be co-located with the Head Start facility in Rock Rapids, run by Mid-Sioux Opportunity. The reason is that a certain percentage of the served families have to be low-income families. By co-locating with Head Start, Kids Club qualifies for the Community Development Block Grant, in the amount of $600,000. This week, the Rock Rapids City Council voted to be the pass-through entity for the grant. They’ll hear whether they’ll get that grant in March.
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