A new childcare facility is in the works for the Flint Hills area.
The Flint Hills Child Care Coalition, a childcare facility serving families throughout the Flint Hills area, is making strides toward opening its doors to local families this summer. Located in Florence, the facility would be able to provide care for around 30 area children.
Founder Les Allison said he was inspired to start the facility after seeing a need for childcare in the community and surrounding areas — a need that is requiring some families to drive an hour each day for childcare.
While attending an event in Burdick, Allison said he noticed the community included a large number of children.
“I asked one of the mothers how this small of a community has this many kids here and she said ‘Well I work in Emporia but I moved back here to Burdick so I could have someone to take care of my kids.’” Allison said. “In Florence, we don’t have a childcare center and we have quite a few little kids. We have assets in the community that aren’t used, for example, this old school building that we’re looking to repurpose.”
The building, located at the intersection of Doyle St. and W. 7th Ave., is a former USD 408 special education building and is owned by the City of Florence. Per the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Allison said the facility will be able to provide care for around 30 Flint Hills-area children.
Volunteers helped patch windows and clean the facility at a work day last Saturday, but much work is still needed to bring the facility up to code. Allison said he hopes to open the facility by August.
“We’ll have to get a refrigerator and freezer in, stovetop and dishwashers, clothes washers and appliances and necessary office equipment,” Allison said. The facility will also need an experienced staff.
“We’re taking volunteers to donate elbow grease and ideas,” Allison said.
Interested parties are invited to attend an open meeting on Monday, March 20 at 5:30 p.m. at the school building for community input, volunteer and employee recruitment, funding discussions and more. KDHE and ChildCare Aware of Kansas representatives are expected to attend.
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