- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) - When a group of Western Nebraska parents learned their kids’ day care center would close at the end of January, they decided to try and open their own replacement facility.

The Scottsbluff Star-Herald reports (https://bit.ly/2e2bFJK ) that it’s not yet clear whether parents will have the new day care ready when Calvary Lutheran’s facility closes.

Calvary Director Becky Jo Wylie says the recent minimum wage increase was a factor in the closing.

Stu Kissick says he and a group of other parents formed the nonprofit Twin Cities Early Child Care Center and started raising money when they learned of the closing.

An anonymous donor gave the group a building and may contribute to renovations. Kissick says he hopes the community will support the effort to build a quality day care center.

“We have enough parks. Businesses are doing OK,” Kissick said. “This is one of those businesses that could use a hand up.”

The fundraising got off to a good start with one person donating $3,000 and another offering to spend between $7,000 and $10,000 to buy appliances and chairs for the new facility. But more will be needed. Kissick said the group needs $17,500 just to have architectural drawings done for renovations.

“We are relying on someone else to cover renovations and operating expenses. If they can’t bear it, we’re on the street,” Kissick said. “What we’re providing to the community as a nonprofit is essential to the community. It’s essential to the workforce.”

The plan is to have Calvary’s staff and most of the children who attend there shift over to the new facility. But state regulators will have to approve it once the center is ready.

A thorough inspection will be required before the facility can open, said Dianne Kvasnicka with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

“We realize the impact that this has on parents in the community,” Kvasnicka said. “We’re in the business of licensing folks - and we want to make sure that’s done as efficiently as possible. We need to ensure full compliance of regulations.”

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Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com

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