High quality childcare got easier to find in Lancaster, thanks to a newly built facility partially funded by a $187,000 CDBG Public Facility grant. When the former childcare facility, the only one in the city that is licensed, was found to be out of compliance with state standards during a routine inspection, the first choice was to rehab the existing building. As cost estimates to fix all issues were compiled, this option was found to be too costly. In particular, an architectural study by the United States Department of Agriculture found that building new was more cost effective than bringing the old building up to code.
The old facility provided childcare for 35 children ages six weeks to seven years and employs seven teachers. Sixty-seven percent of parents were low to moderate income. With the new building, the facility has the capacity for more children and will employ several new teachers, which was important since Lancaster Play and Learn’s waiting list averaged two to three pages of names. The new facility also included more outdoor play equipment for the children.
According to Amy Graham, Director, “We try to keep day care affordable for low-income or below-income families. If we didn’t get CDBG funds, then we would’ve had to take out a loan. Now we can fix all our problems at once. There is a huge need for childcare--we get calls all the time--and there is not enough space.”
Joia Hughes, the project’s grant writer/administrator agrees. “I know the value for people who are working to have a safe environment for their children. It is really the only daycare facility in the area.”
Hughes added, “The support from the town has been so phenomenal…They had the most support that I have ever seen in any of the projects I have worked on.”