New childcare spaces operated by the Campbell River School District are close to completion, as construction wraps up on permanent childcare buildings throughout the district.
Associate Superintendent Philip Cizmic said during the district’s Oct. 17 meeting that the new spaces are the result the New Spaces Grants from the provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development.
The grants are helping provide childcare at Ocean Grove, Georgia Park, Cedar, Pinecrest, Ripple Rock and Sandowne Elementary schools, as well as one on Quadra Island.
“In less than 18 months we’ve gone from the design phase to the construction phase,” Cizmic said. “We are hopefully within two or three months of completion … it seems like it’s been a really long time, but we actually just broke ground at the end of June and beginning of July. To think about where we’ve come in that short period of time … it’s actually quite amazing.”
Six of the seven sites are currently up and running, providing before- and after-school care for students at the respective schools. The final site on Quadra Island, had a slower start due to complexities with the ground work.
The new sites will provide 210 potential new childcare spaces.
“I say potential because it’s important to note that even though we are going to be licensed for 30 at each site, because of the licensing criteria, as soon as there’s one kindergarten student that max drops from 30 to 24. Everything out there is 30 potential spaces but the largest number of students attending our childcare spaces are kindergarten students, so the number drops,” Cizmic said.
However, there are still spots available. There is a wait list at Ripple Rock, but other schools still have spaces available.
“We were initially tentative,” Cizmic said about the number of people who would be moving to the new spaces. “Will people be nervous about giving up their spots elsewhere? This is a new venture and in the afternoon they’re quite full. One of the pieces we’ve heard from parents is there is still some hesitation until we offer full-year childcare.”
Cizmic said the district is anticipating increased interest when the facilities are actually complete, and when the board decides on whether childcare will continue in the summer months.
The cost of the spots are $35 per day, $45 for Pro-D days, which Cizmic says is in line with other facilities in Campbell River.
“It’s important to note a lot of people get confused about $10 a day childcare,” he said. “that right now is intended for the infant/toddler categories, not school-age care.”
However, there are opportunities for families to pay less either through the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, or through further subsidies under the Affordable Child Care Benefit. More information on the SD72 Out-of-School care program is available on the district website.