Northeast Iowa Child Care & Discovery Center

The Sunflower Child Development Center Board of Directors, with assistance from Winneshiek County Development will oversee the construction of a new facility in Decorah, Iowa and will serve the needs of families in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Fayette, and Howard counties in Iowa, and Fillmore County, MN. Sunflower, one of the largest child care facilities in the region, owns an aging building with major structural issues. It cannot be remodeled and faces closure within 3-5 years. Several counties they serve have “child care deserts” and several child cares have closed because of low profit margin and high costs. This is a barrier for individuals who want to enter the workforce and impacts worker productivity, particularly women. The most progressive child care businesses in the nation incorporate innovative learning opportunities and learning-focused-play into their business models, including STEAM learning, but there is a gap in STEAM learning for younger children in the region. The IWF grant will pay for Design Development Phase II Architectural Services for a new child care “Discovery Center” increasing child care capacity from 135 children to 200 – 300 children. It will incorporate high-quality STEAM learning and play areas for the childcare attendees and other children on evenings and weekends.