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 going to build a new, modern two million dollar facility, and they’re almost ready for the bid-letting.
The daycare center was started about 20 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 ready 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 new facility will be in east Rock Rapids on the same property as Mid Sioux Opportunity’s office and Head Start.
He says the next big step is putting the project out for bids.
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 a Community Development Block Grant, in the amount of $600,000.
Hulshof says that in addition to the block grant, they are also receiving founds from the USDA in the form of a loan, The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation, and the Forster Trust.