The Grenfell Child Care Centre Advisory Board has hit a crossroads upon recommendations made by a recent building inspection report.
The Board of Directors has been waiting upon the completion of the building inspection to determine if any changes were necessary to satisfy fire safety codes and regulations. On Monday, Jan. 23, the inspection was carried out and revealed that the Village Grenfell Child Care Centre is faced with “rather costly and extensive upgrades” before its facility can become an operable child care centre.
“The extent of these upgrades, as well as the cost associated with it, came as a shock to us,” wrote Board chairperson Nicolle Wade in an email to the Sun.
Preliminary project reports, a fall assessment, and the Jan. 23 inspection had varying results, though the most recent building inspection gave tally of all improvements and upgrades that must be completed. The facility must install two new fire-rated doors; fire stopping of heat ducts; emergency lighting at the exit doors; and an extensive upgrade of the hallway and classroom ceilings to allow a 45-minute burn time between floors.
The changes are necessary due to the change in occupancy, in particular because sleeping children will be in the facility.
As a result of the recent report, the Board is left with the decision to either carry on with development by accomplishing “small” remaining tasks such as outfitting the classrooms with furnishings, collecting teaching materials and completing remaining paperwork, or to put the project on hold and wait until sufficient funds materialize.
The Board is hoping a general contractor, electrician and drywaller can donate labour in efforts to complete the remaining renovations.
But even with the donation of time and trade, more funds are required.
The Advisory Board estimates that another $10,000 is required to satisfy the building code inspection.
To date, $9,525 has been raised, but after bills and expenses a budget of $6,508 remains.
At least half of that money is earmarked for furnishings and teaching supplies and as a contingency savings for two weeks’ worth of staff salaries (in the event the centre is not financially viable and closes down, the volunteer Board is accountable for any outstanding wages and Canada revenue sums).
“The community of Grenfell, individuals and small business owners alike, has been most generous in their support of establishing the child care centre. We are truly grateful to our community for this support,” wrote Wade. “The challenges our Board has faced along the way have not changed the child care situation in Grenfell. Families in our community are patiently waiting for our doors to open and in many cases have made only interim arrangements for their child care needs to be fulfilled until a more suitable, permanent arrangement is presented.”
The project initially began in April 2011, headed by the volunteer Grenfell Child Care Centre Advisory Board. The need for a child care facility was assessed and identified through community surveys and a town meeting where families could voice their needs and concerns in relation to securing child care in the community.
At the time of the survey, the Board found that at least 23 children in Grenfell required full or part-time child care.
An interim board was established and provincial funding was applied for, but denied. Despite the grant denial, the board moved ahead with pressing motivation and cause to see the initiative take shape.
The Village Grenfell Child Care Centre became an incorporated non-for-profit licensed child care business; the Grenfell United Church was secured as a rental facility; a playground fence was installed; job postings were advertised and candidates were short-listed; a Parent Handbook, Staff Handbook and Board of Directors Bylaws Handbook was created and a nutritionist-approved menu was established.
“There is no question that families in our community are in desperate need of dependable, high quality and consistent care for their children while parents are working. We see The Village Grenfell Child Care Centre as an essential service required in our community…without this essential service, Grenfell is not a viable option for those with young children,” Wade wrote on behalf of the Advisory Board.
“It is simply something we feel passionately about in terms of bettering our community and enriching the lives of many of our community members.”
The Board will reapply for provincial funding in the spring, but in the case that grant money is approved, it will not be received until the summer. Corporations including Viterra, CP/CN Rail, TransCanada Pipeline, SaskGaming, SaskPower, SaskTel and the Mosaic Company have been
approached, but requests for contributions have
“Best case scenario, we miraculously get nearly all the materials and labour donated, work is finished this winter, and we’re up and running an amazing daycare program by the spring,” wrote Wade, adding the turnaround time from final application to doors opening is between two and three weeks.
As promised from the project’s beginnings, if the child care centre does not move forward and open, the unused money will be donated to another project to benefit the children of Grenfell.
The Board asks for continued community support, patience and generosity. For questions or suggestions contact the Board at email@example.com or find them on facebook. The Board also encourages members of the community to write letters in support of Village Grenfell Child Care Centre to MLA Don Toth and to Minister of Education Donna Harpauer.