Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Health Care Association is poised to begin construction on the new Grandkids Daycare building on the campus of the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
"We've already dug the footers," health care association Chief Financial Officer Dean Sandvik said.
Planning Director Wendie Schulenburg and Planning Commission approved the new 4,800-square-foot daycare building May 30 and the 10-day waiting period on the approval elapses this week. Grandkids' new facility had already been approved as part of the hospital campus on Central Park Drive. However, changes to the adjacent Extended Care Center last year meant some changes to the plan for Grandkids were inevitable, and the project had to go back to the city planning department.
The Grandkids program was a part of the old hospital campus, and worked closely with the Extended Care Center, mixing geriatric and other long-term care patients with pre-schoolers for mutual activities like reading books and sharing music. That tradition will continue in the new facility, Sandvik said, as it will be possible to walk from one facility to the other without going outside.
Sandvik said the new building will allow Grandkids to expand from its current enrollment of 39 children to 48.
"Most of the growth is among infants and junior toddlers," Sandvik said. Although infant care is the most costly to provide, it's where the demand is, he added. Infants require a lower ratio of children to caregivers, Sandvik explained.
Grandkids Director Chrissy Boyd explained that there must be one adult care giver for every five infants, compared to a 1-to-12 ratio for pre-schoolers.
Boyd said the new facility will make a significant difference in the daily lives of children at Grandkids.
"Just being able to get into a new space and have a little more room will make a difference," Boyd said. "It's going to be very pretty."
The children are sure to notice the indoor playground that will allow them to romp around indoors during Steamboat's long winters. Boyd said a high ceiling will allow an indoor playground structure and skylights will enhance the mood.
Another plus at the new building will be a separate sleeping area for infants. The youngest children at Grandkids are often on different schedules from one another, Boyd said, and presently there is no way to separate the sleepers from the yakkers.
Grandkids plays an important role in employee recruitment and retention, according to Sandvik.
"Our staff is a major user of it," he said. "It's something we need to do to attract employees."
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