Plans for children's centre in Gladstone unveiled



By Kate Jackman-Atkinson

The Neepawa Banner

Parents and children were all smiles last Friday as the Happy Rock Children Centre unveiled their plans to build a new daycare in Gladstone.

Currently operating out the the basement of the Seven Regions Health Centre, the group has been working towards their long-term plan of building a new facility that will better meet their needs.

Having recently purchased property for the new centre, on Oct. 10, children and staff from the centre helped to unveil a sign outlining building plans as well as fundraising goals. A tree was also planted in what will be the playground.

HRCC has been operating out of their current location for 25 years, but as enrolment has increased and standards have changed, board chair Sandi Kinley explained that they have outgrown their current location.  Their current space has a number of limitations, it lacks natural light, has no kitchen facilities in which to prepare snacks and has an insufficient napping area. “It’s time to upgrade,” she said. 

Currently, the centre is licensed for eight infants, 20 pre-schoolers and four school-age children.  In addition to better meeting provincial guidelines, a new facility will allow them to slightly increase enrolment. The new location, beside the elementary school, will also allow the centre to offer after-school programs should there be a demand.

RM of Westbourne reeve David Single sits on the HRCC Building committee, which is made up of parents as well as representatives from municipal government and local service clubs.  Single explained that they looked at a number of sites over the past two years, but chose the new site because of its location.

Kinley explains that construction of the new centre is two to three years away, depending on how quickly they can fundraise. The project is expected to cost between $500,000 and $600,000 and Kinley said that between savings and past fundraisers, they have about $100,000 so far.