Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Northland Foundation approves childcare center grant

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TOWER— The Northland Foundation has approved a $10,500 grant to assist with development and operation of the Little Eagles Childcare Center in Tower. The new center, which will be located within the recently-renovated Tower-Soudan Elementary, is currently under development, with an anticipated opening in September.

Center board president Troy Swanson said the funding is key to advancing the project. “I want to thank the Northland Foundation for this very important grant. This is a great example of how organizations like the Northland Foundation and the United Way, another partner on the project, can really make a difference in small northern Minnesota communities.”

The center is being developed by the nonprofit corporation, Little Eagles Childcare, Inc., which recently hired Amy Richter, of Ely, as its new director. The center’s board approved the long list of policies necessary to begin the licensing process. Richter said she expects to submit the center’s license application by May 19. The state typically takes 3-5 months to actually issue a license for a new center.

In the interim, Richter and the board will be completing planning and acquiring needed equipment, software, curriculum, and supplies­.

The center will be located in the current fourth grade room at the T-S Elementary. The ISD 2142 board, which is strongly supportive of the center, approved the center’s lease at a regular meeting earlier this month. The center will have access to the room beginning July 1. The center is already nearing capacity given parent interest, but a few slots still remain. The fourth grade classroom is somewhat smaller than the original space the center was considering in the school, which means it may only be able to accommodate 17 or 18 students at any one time. The center is currently planning an expansion to an unused portion of the school, but that space will require renovation and likely won’t be available for at least a year.

The center is being developed to address a critical shortage of childcare services within the Tower-Soudan area. “When we discovered the alarming number of families needing childcare in our area it was shocking,” said Swanson. “But even more shocking was how everybody in our community came together quickly and addressed this issue. Grants like these from the Northland Foundation make it all possible to get important things done in small communities.”

To advance register your child for the new childcare service, email Amy Richter at amy.richter@live.com, or Troy Swanson at troyswanson @hotmail.com.

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