The Idaho Workforce Development Council awarded a $1 million grant to the Teton Valley Collaborative for Early Learning to create a new day care in Driggs, Idaho, which will be a huge boon to families.
“When it was announced that we received the grant, we all screamed and threw our hands up in the meeting,” said Kristin Livingstone, the executive director for the nonprofit Education Foundation of Teton Valley. “Child care is essential for a community to function.”
The new facility, Livingstone said, will increase child care availability in Teton Valley by 51%.
The collaborative was created less than year ago after a group of stakeholders met to address the immediate needs of a growing child care crisis. At the time, a variety of child care and preschool facilities had closed, with another major provider announcing a closure.
The grant will be used to relocate, place and renovate a 4,500-square-foot home that was donated by Teton Valley resident Alex Gambal. The new facility is slated to be placed along Main Street in Driggs on Teton School District 401 property. The facility will sit between the district office and the Idaho Extension Office and will hold space for 70 children ages 0 to 5.
“The valley needs the child care and our employees, like a lot of other employers in the valley, need child care,” said Ray Hinchcliff, the school board chair for Teton School District 401.
The collaborative approached the district in November and asked how Teton 401 could help. Board members agreed to house the facility on school property. Hinchcliff said that once the house is moved from its current location on Packsaddle Road west of Driggs, the board will look for a day care provider through a public request for proposal.
“We are extremely excited they could get the grant,” said Hinchcliff.
Collaborative member and Driggs Mayor August Christensen said this is a huge win for the community.
“I’m seeing so many families, especially essential workers including teachers and firefighters, who need care for their children,” she said.
The community is invited to attend the Teton Regional Economic Coalition mixer from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on March 21, at the Teton Geo Center.
Jeannette has worked as an editor and journalist in the Greater Yellowstone Region for more than 20 years. She finds excitement and joy in watching her children explore wild places with her husband, Brad, and their red heeler, Rosie.
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