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19 posts categorized "Childcare"

June 12, 2015

Rochester childcare center growing with new infant facility

A young child-care center is preparing to take the step to more than double capacity to better serve Rochester's growing demand for infant care.

First Steps Childcare Center is preparing to break ground on July 1 for a second facility on its campus at 3089 25th St. NW.

Founder and director Cassie Fenstra says the new building, which will be across the parking lot from her original one, will include seven classrooms, two offices and a basement conference room. The new building will be called Little Steps Campus.

1"It will be bigger than the one we have now. It'll be an infant specific building and our existing building will then handle toddlers and preschoolers," she said. "We have a wait list for infants that's like a mile long."

Fenstra opened First Steps in 2014. The center uses a tailored curriculum for each age group — infant, toddler, preschool and pre-kindergarten.

First Steps now cares for 72 children; 22 are infants and 50 are 16-months to 5-years-old. Building the new Little Steps Campus building will be bring Little Steps' capacity up to 150.

She has a staff now of 18 employees, but that will change with the new building.

"We'll need to at least double the staff by the time whole center is built," said Fenstra. 

November 10, 2010

New tenant on way for Roch's ex-Charter building

After providing in-home care therapy in the area for years, the Minnesota Autism Center is gearing up to open a large treatment facility in Rochester.

Construction started last week to transform the 16,000-square-foot former Charter Communications building at 3380 Northern Valley Place N.E. into an autism treatment center.

It is already accepting enrollment of students ranging in age from 2 to 21. The plan is to open the center on Jan. 31.

Ron Carey, chairman of the statewide nonprofit group, says this new facility is one way the autism center is trying to help children and their families deal with the "explosion" of autism cases.

"This is a good launching place for us outside of the Twin Cities," he says. "The goal is to have centers around the state."

The group already has centers in Minnetonka and Woodbury.

The Rochester center will feature classrooms, a cafeteria, a 3,000-foot gymnasium and a fenced-in, outdoor play area.

It is designed to accommodate more than 30 students

Instruction is offered one-on-one with an instructor for each child in their own individual classroom, explains Kathryn Marshall, Minnesota Autism Center executive director.

She expects the nonprofit's employee numbers to grow to more than 50 from the about 20 staff members who already provide in-home services throughout southeastern Minnesota.

In addition to providing clinical therapy and school preparation services, Carey, who has a child with autism, says the nonprofit also offers support for families trying to cope with autism.

"We're a full-featured service provider, ready to treat the whole family," he says. "Unfortunately, the demand just keeps growing for our services."

The building being changed into the Minnesota Autism Center has been empty since Charter Communications moved into its new complex on Superior Drive Northwest.

Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate and Ned Rukavina of Northmarq brokered the deal to bring the Minnesota Autism Center into the Rochester building.

October 25, 2010

More bouncing + Roch.

A Rochester business is jumping into a new project Friday to keep kids, as well as its equipment, busy through the coming Minnesota winter.

Look for Jolly Jumpz Bounce World to open up in the 15,000-square-foot indoor sports complex at 4430 19th. N.W.

Moonwalks_combo The plan is to open up in the former gymnastics center for three days a week — Friday, Saturday and Sunday —  with about 10 of her company's giant inflatable toys and slides pumped up for bouncing.

While Rochester already has place for kids to bounce off the walls — The House of Bounce, Jolly Jumpz owner Kari McKenzie is confident that there is room for more.

"Definitely during the winter, there is never enough to do indoor," she said. "I don't think there is ever enough bouncing for kids. Put up an inflatable and you have kids come out of the woodwork."

Jolly Jumpz World will offer food, party rooms and schedule special kid-friendly events like performances by popular The Teddy Bear Band and The Rad Zoo.

Beside being a place for children with cabin fever to burn off energy, this new project will help McKenzie keep her fleet of almost 40 inflatables and her staff hopping during the cold months.

She bought Jolly Jumpz Amusements, which rents and sets up inflatables for parties and events this summer. And it kept them jumping with all of her inflatables rented out at once some weekends.

Travis "Diesel" Wiuff, a name familiar to fans of mixed martial arts fighting, will manage Bounce World.

Known across the country as one of the toughest guys in the grueling world of extreme fighting, Wiuff is really great with kids and loves taking his young daughter to go bouncing, said McKenzie.

"He is so intimidating, but he is such a sweet guy," she said.

August 25, 2009

Kutzky development w/ 2 Roch. New Horizons @ zoning commission

Here's some from a piece about a development in the downtown Kutzky neighborhood that is going before the Olmsted-Rochester Planning and Zoning Commission. Interesting point, the daycare center will be New Horizon's second center in Rochester:

Cascade creek development

An estimated $10 million downtown Rochester development that includes a daycare, an apartment complex and townhomes is may take a step forward this week.

The Cascade Creek project, spearheaded by the non-profit housing group First Groups, is slated to built on a two-acre plot bordered by Civic Center Drive, Sixth Avenue Northwest, Fourth Street and Cascade Creek

On Wednesday, the Rochester-Olmsted Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a conditional use permit for the plan in the downtown Kutzky neighborhood. The goal is to combat blight and replace it with new housing and related commercial projects.

Once the development is OKed by the city, First Homes can apply for  needed funding from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. That agency will announce its decision on the application on Oct. 1 and construction could start soon after that.

“Neighborhoods are really defined by the edges around them… This is kind of creating an edge to the neighborhood,” says Sean Allen, executive director of First Homes and Rochester Area Foundation Assistant Director. First Homes is an offshoot of the Foundation.

 “I foresee Sixth Avenue from Civic Center down to Second Street as redeveloping pretty seriously over the next 10 years. We’re just the first block,” he said.

The Cascade Creek plan calls for demolishing or moving 11 houses considered blighted as well as vacating an alley. 

First Homes has been handling the development planning and acquisition of the land for the past four years. Once that is all lined up, along with financing, First Homes will sell it to Twin Cities developer Metro Plains.

Allen says the concept for this project was conceived through the Imagine Kutzky revitalization program with input from the neighborhood.

“We’re basically facilitating what we see as a neighborhood-driven project,” he said.

 Once the site is ready, a Twin Cities developer working with First Homes will oversee the construction of a 10,000-square-foot New Horizons daycare facility along with a 40 unit, four story apartment complex and a six townhomes.

The mix of new for sale and rental housing is designed to bring more people  to the downtown neighborhood, which has losing population since 1970s, Allen said. 

What about the New Horizons child care center?

“It came out during the Imagine Kutzky project that there wasn’t a childcare center in the area. We kind of see that part as an amenity,” Allen says.

Twin Cities-based New Horizons built its first Rochester center last year. Chief Operating Officer Chad Dunkley says it just makes sense to add a second one, particularly near downtown.

 The day-care center would include a 10,000-square-foot building fronting Civic Center Drive and an 8,400-square-foot outdoor playground.

August 21, 2009

Growing up Rochester

Rochester once again tops a “Best Places” list, though this one is different since its looks at U.S. cities through the eyes of a child.

U.S. News and World Reports magazine, a long-time fan of Rochester, named the city as one of America’s 10 Best Places To Grow Up in a list published Thursday.


Described on the list as having “… Enough activities to tire out even the most energetic youngsters,” Rochester is ranked among other cities such as Boston, Denver, San Jose, Calif., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The magazine delved into its database of 2,000 communities to look for place  with a low crime rate, a strong school system, lots of green spaces and plenty of opportunities for recreation and artistic outlets.

When mapping out Rochester’s child-friendly features, the magazine spoke with Brad Jones, the executive director of the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau.

He described the variety of activity options, like “85 miles of trails for in-line skating, 3,200 acres of public parks for touch football, and 56 different playgrounds.”

The list also included the Graham Arena hockey facilities and National Volleyball Center.

U.S. News and World Reports has often named Rochester to its many lists, starting with the Best Places to Live. It also has made the Best Places to Work and Best Places to Do Business lists.

July 23, 2009

Church to open low-cost child care

A small Rochester church that wants to improve the community is reaching out to the youngest members of the city.


Living Stone Church is creating a low-cost, nonprofit operation called Step-By-Step Community Child Care Center.

The center could be licensed and open by October.

 “When thinking what we could do, we thought rather than do a lot of little things, maybe we should help one specific population,” says Pastor Kyle Haack. “Child care is a huge expense, especially for single parents. We’ve always had a passion for helping single parents.”

Step-By-Step is more than just a new project; it is also a new home for the church. Living Stone moved into the former Creative Arts day-care center at 3949 10th Ave. N.W. 

Living Stone’s congregation of about 35 previously met at 1700 N. Broadway.

The plan is to offer child care from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for about 50 preschool-age kids with a full-time staff of seven. 

To keep costs down, Haack says the church will lease out space in the building’s commercial kitchen to local food businesses. 

And look for Haack and others to offer music lessons, with a percent of each payment to go to Step-By-Step to further defray costs.

June 11, 2009

House of Bounce pumped up for opening

Looks like the House of Bounce crew has really been hopping to it lately. 

I hear from the owners that the jumping gym will re-open Friday in its new Rochester space that is almost twice as large as its current one at 2535 U.S. 14 West.

With the cloud canopy covering the entire sky this a.m., it might be good to have an indoor play option Friday.

March 17, 2009

Primrose School starting to bloom

031309primroseschool Construction of the new Primrose School of Rochester @ 2600 Second St. S.W. is really pushing the grading curve.

Work on this new childcare center by AB Systems looks like it is moving along quickly and it not being held back.

 103108primroseconstruction This is the project of Rachel Mock and Jane Kadlec.  The 11,200-square-foot Primrose is being built @ 2600 Second St. S.W. on the site of the former Golf Dome.

082908golfdomejk Word is that the recently announced closing of the Civic League Day Care Nursery has flooded the half-built Primrose with requests.

We'll see what happens when Primrose opens the doors.

November 13, 2008

House of Bounce is hopping

Remember the House of Bounce? That's the kids play place filled with inflatable bouncy features like slides, "moon walks" and games.

Well, Sue and Ed Hiatt opened on schedule Monday in the commercial park by Northern Power & Tool Supply along the U.S. 14 West frontage road.

Now you have a place to haul all of those visiting kids after Thanksgiving.

I wish them better luck than the space's former tenant had.

October 31, 2008

Primrose School ready to grow


The dirt is smoothing out on the former Golf Dome site laying the groundwork for the new 11,200-square-foot Primrose School Of Rochester @ 2600 Second St. S.W. This is a new childcare center.

This is being built by AB Systems for Rachel Mock and Jane Kadlec.

I chatted w/ Rachel the other day and her are a few highlights of the project:

• There will be four playgrounds

• Capacity is 180 kids ranging from six weeks to 12 years

• Hoping for an early May opening "depending on how winter treats us."

• There will be an after-school program as well as a before-school program

• 25 to 35 employees

• Uses its own Balanced Learning curriculum.

• Why build there? "We liked the central proximity - not too far north, not too far south."

• Groundbreaking slated for Monday, Nov. 10  @ 11:30 a.m.