By Kathleen Duff
It's a familiar Grand Island landmark - that pretty brick church at the corner of Staley and Stony Point Roads. Soon to upgrade its appearance, St. Timothy Evangelical Lutheran Church will add more space to its well-loved child care center, expanding a ministry to Grand Island children and their families that began in 1991.
Groundbreaking on the facility is set for April of this year, and construction should be completed in September.
Finance Committee Chairman Mike Endres relates that the congregation at St. Timothy recognized a need for improved security at the child care center as parents and children come in and exit the building at various times during the day. Stakeholders researched many ideas for how best to configure expansion before the final plans were made and set to paper.
As a congregation, St. Timothy approved the addition to the building in September 2014. The church raised $150,000 to complete the project. Pastor Dean Hunneshagen credits his flock with "stepping up to the plate" and getting together all the necessary funds before groundbreaking. He adds that the project is using the talents of local contractors for all phases of construction.
Specifically, the facility will have a very modern looking entrance, designed to carefully monitor access to the child care center. Any persons wishing to enter the building will be personally greeted by a member of the child care staff and will have to be buzzed into the fully secured area.
Regarding safety outdoors, the new building plan will change the layout of the parking area, eliminating access to cars trying to take a short cut from Staley to Stony Point Road. This has been an area of serious concern for the safety of the families and is a key goal to be reached by the building project.
The expansion will add a new staff work area and private meeting room for management. One brand-new classroom will boost center capacity by a full 20 percent. Currently, St. Timothy Child Care Center has five rooms and 240 weekly slots, comprised of 30 to 40 infants, toddlers and preschoolers. In the new space, that number can increase by as many as 15 children, depending on their ages.
The church considers the child care center to be an important outreach to Grand Island families. Hunneshagen said that the children "are well worth the effort" and that the church wants to leave a legacy to the people of the Island.
Known for its homey atmosphere, St. Timothy Child Care Center watches children 8 weeks old through kindergarten and starts them on a Christian-based learning path, which is very important to the parents coming to the center. Staffing is consistent, with caregivers averaging 15 years of service at the facility. Care, play and instruction are age-appropriate, and children in the senior pre-K classroom are fully prepared with kindergarten readiness skills.
St. Timothy's Evangelical Lutheran Church is located at 1453 Staley Road, just east of the roundabout on Grand Island Boulevard. Contact the child care center at 716-773-9249.