The Stafford County Child Care Committee continues to make progress on the modular classroom building project in St. John. The Committee has been reviewing provider applications as necessary modifications to the building are underway.
In the fall of 2021, the Committee formed and conducted a county-wide childcare needs assessment. The results of that survey helped the Committee form a plan on how to start addressing the need for more childcare.
The plan to bring in a modular classroom building that will allow for two daycares to open was able to move forward because the City of St. John agreed to contribute core funding to the project. Additional funding for this project has come from Stafford County, Golden Belt Community Foundation, and generous businesses and individuals.
It took some time to find a location for the building to go. A dilapidated house near the school was purchased and torn down to make room for the modular building. The building arrived and was assembled in late November.
The Committee has made considerable progress, but it will still be several months before the new daycares can open. The building passed its Kansas State Fire Marshal Inspection in January, a key piece needed for providers to be licensed to operate in it. The Committee is currently reviewing applications from potential providers while waiting for a conditional use permit for the location. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) childcare provider licensing process takes at least 90 days and requires a site visit after approval prior to the daycare opening. Best case scenario, the daycares open this summer.
In the meantime, interior and exterior modifications are being made to the building, most of them to meet KDHE requirements. Smoke detectors, emergency lights, and fire extinguishers have been installed in each classroom. Kitchenettes have been installed in each classroom for food preparation. New flooring is being installed. Once the weather is better, the building will receive new siding and a grass lawn and fenced play area will be established.