School division agrees to sell land to Play Fair for $1: Daycare looking at site on school grounds

December 4, 2023, 8:05 am
Kevin Weedmark

Play Fair Daycare plans to build its new daycare on the south corner of the MacLeod School grounds

Play Fair Daycare is looking at developing its new building on the south end of the MacLeod School grounds, and the school division is willing to sell the land to the daycare for $1.

Two days after both the Southeast Cornerstone School Division and the Play Fair Daycare presented at the November Chamber of Commerce meeting, the two groups met to discuss using part of the school grounds for the new daycare building. Play Fair has been approved for 90 new spaces.

Daycare president Jalisa Miller said the meeting between the school division and the day care was positive.

鏑ast week I reached out to Andy Dobson (head of facilities for the school division) and he wanted to meet right away. Terri and I met him. He said he had met with (MacLeod School principal) Tammy Cole because he wanted to make sure that the school administration was okay with what we were proposing葉o take part of their land and build right on the school grounds. They were in favour of it and actually very happy to accommodate. When we met with Andy, he wanted to know what kind of space we were looking at. He said he didn稚 really need anything else from us at this point, but just once we have a high level design ready to go, they値l okay it and they値l build a fence around it for us, they値l parcel the land out and they値l give it to us for a dollar.

Miller said she was surprised the approval came so quickly.

的 wasn稚 expecting it to happen so quick. I was very surprised. I知 sure that us all coming together at the Chamber meeting helped.

The daycare board is planning an approximately 8,000-square-foot building.
Because they will be building on the school grounds and will have access to the school playground, the daycare will not need as much outside space.

The board is estimating it will need about 1,400 square metres in total for the yard, building and parking.

The board is ready to move onto the next steps.

典his week we値l be meeting with Jay (Hamilton of South Prairie Design) so we値l get going on a high level concept and budget because we have to have that submitted to the government by the end of January. So that痴 really the key thing, now that we have the location picked out,ュ is getting the design and budget put together. We値l also be putting together a building committee this week. Then we need to start coming up with a plan for funding and staffingュ葉he two big things. Funding to construct and then staffing and resources once it opens. Those will be the next on the list.

滴opefully we壇 be able to start building early next year. We値l have to work with the school division on timing and what makes sense because maybe we won稚 want to start construction until school is out, so we値l have to work with them and see what that timing looks like. Then hopefully a year to construct and I would say that we could aim to be open late 2025. The government is saying that we should be open in 2026 so I think we have quite a bit of wiggle room and once we have the design nailed down, hopefully the construction is pretty quick.

What does Miller think will be the most challenging part of the project?
的 think the initial time of getting everything into the government to release the funding is going to be tight葉hat痴 a really tight timeline.
鄭lso we don稚 know what the total cost of the building is going to be, but it痴 going to be a significant amount and we池e going to have to raise the funding for that, so that will be a challenge. I think we still need to overcome the hurdle of property taxes and what that looks like with the town, and then probably staffing will be our next big issue to sort out.
The building committee is coming together.

的, myself, have project management experience so I値l be on the committee. Terri will be representing the daycare side of things and making sure that the design functions for what they need. We will have someone in charge of project controls that has tons of accounting experience and project control experience. Tyler Thorn has committed to join the committee as well. Someone from the Economic Development Committee will be joining. We want Samantha Campbell on the committee because she痴 very good at getting grants and that side of things, so we池e hoping that she can help us out with that. Then we池e hoping to get one more from the mine who has major project experience and lots of contractor experience.

The government funding for the 90 spots includes $900,000 for capital costs. The daycare will be fundraising to fill part of the gap between the capital funding and the cost of a new building.

展e want to fundraise as much as we can, but we will be able to take out a mortgage, and we will be able to cover that because for our current building, our mortgage is almost paid off. So we will be able to support another mortgage or whatever that looks like, but ideally we would fundraise as much as we could.

She said it feels good to be starting to plan a second daycare building after working toward it for a long time.

展e池e just really excited, she said. 滴onestly, it痴 been a long time coming and I feel like we致e been waiting on the list for so long that now we finally have the spots it痴 kind of kind of been like a whirlwind that everything is coming together.

展e know that there痴 a huge need for it in the community and our wait list has been extreme for a lot of years. Coming out on the other side of Covid, it痴 only increased.

鉄o we know that there痴 a need for it and there痴 not a lot of other options in town in terms of at-home daycares. So we池e hoping that we can fill the gap and we池e really looking forward to it. I know we致e heard from a lot of people now and everyone is really excited.