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Two simultaneous projects are in the works at the Family Resource Center (FRC) in Mount Ayr.
At their monthly meeting in March, the FRC board decided to undergo an extensive remodel to the center. In addition, the FRC is working to expand its services for children aged 0-3 years of age.
The FRC was built in 1997, and mechanical infrastructure, lighting and plumbing are reaching the end of their 24 year life. Other needs include new flooring, paint, millwork, updated kitchen, and restroom renovations/additions.
The outdoor learning space is also original, and the cement pads are cracked, crumbling, and need to come out. Shade structures are also needed.
The project will require significant funding, and locating funding opportunities is impacting planning for the project.
“Grant money must be awarded to us before we can start the [remodel] project,” said Brenda Adams, FRC director. “Therefore, funding is slowing down the project until next spring/summer.”
Adams said the center will continue to work with Downing Construction in moving forward at a slower pace.
The renovation is now tentatively scheduled to get underway June 1, 2022.
The board is concerned about minimizing the disruption of space at the FRC as remodel repairs and replacement get underway. During the month of June 2022, older students attend the program provided in the summer by the school. Therefore, the center would serve only students aged 0-3 at this time, thus making it an opportune time to start the remodel project.
That work will take up to three months, so potential relocation sites are being reviewed. The board feels strongly about being able to continue care to all children during this period. Nothing is solidified at this time, but efforts are ongoing.
Expansion of services
In addition to funding of the remodel at the FRC facility, the center staff is preparing for the expansion of services for children aged 0-3 next fall.
The expansion was triggered by the loss of the center’s 4-year-old preschool program which will move to the Mount Ayr Elementary building next fall.
The project will require a significant investment in extra classroom furniture and materials; cribs, cots and other napping supplies; transitional chair and high chairs; play items; cold food storage; laundry facilities; shelving; and instructional materials.
Grants, alone, will not fund the entire estimated cost of $700,000 for the remodel project and expansion of services, so the FRC is asking the community for help with financing.
Private donors, business owners, and community members are all encouraged to help the youngest members of the community thrive in a nurturing and updated learning environment.
The center is a 501 C 3 organization, and any donations can be used as tax deductions. Anyone interested in supporting early childhood learning in the community may contact the Family Resource Center office at 641-464-3385 or contributions may be dropped off at the City State Bank in Mount Ayr.
Letters from community members in support for the FRC are greatly appreciated and can be used in grant proposals.
Letters can highlight how much childcare is needed in our community, the impact the center has had on individuals personally, past care experiences, need for updated outdoor and indoor learning environments, and more.
Letters of support may be sent to Jodie Geist at FamilyResourceCenterletters@gmail.com
“It is imperative that Early Childhood learning and care be available in our community,” said Adams. “Not only does it provide care to young children while their parents are working, but also it entices younger families to move here to raise families, work, and invest in our community. This leads to increased school enrollment, tax bases, utilization of local businesses, doctors, and our hospital, services in our area, along with housing development and other amenities that would help us grow.”