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Charles City’s TLC child care still awaiting project materials to complete North Grand Building move

Charles City’s TLC child care still awaiting project materials to complete North Grand Building move
Most of the child care rooms, such as this infants room, feature a combination of hard surface and carpeted flooring. Ceiling tiles will be dropped in once HVAC and electrical work is completed. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Travis Fischer, [email protected]

TLC: The Learning Center is eager to move in to their new location in the North Grand Building, but still has a few hurdles to overcome before the childcare facility can officially open its doors.

“We’re just waiting to cross that finish line,” said Director Pam Ost.

Construction work on the more than $1.5 million project to remodel the north part of former middle school began in January with the hope that it would be ready for moving in over the summer. However, supply line delays in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a number of setbacks.

Currently, TLC is still waiting on several electrical units needed to get power running through the building’s HVAC unit. It is hoped that the equipment will arrive in the next couple weeks so that the building can turn the heat on.

Plans to move into the North Grand Building have been in the works since at least 2019, with TLC aiming to expand its child care capabilities with the larger facility. Once in the new building, they will be able to nearly double their capacity from 93 children to 179.

In addition to the last bit of equipment, TLC is looking for funds to close out the remaining costs of the project.

The bulk of the project’s cost has been covered by $1.525 million in state grants for child care, boosted by another $365,000 in funds from other grants and donations from the community. These funds were expected to completely cover the cost of the project, however delays and price increases due to the pandemic and subsequent inflation have pushed the cost of the project higher than expected, leaving TLC with a $275,000 gap to fill.

Ost says that they are still writing grants and looking for other funding opportunities to make up the difference. Recently, a letter of support was sent out to the community and area businesses asking for assistance.

“We wanted to reach out to our community and help us get to the completion of that project,” said Ost.

TLC doesn’t have a tentative timeframe yet for a move-in date as uncertainty about when equipment and materials needed to finish the project make it difficult to make plans.

“It seems like some days you get hit from the right and the left as far as increases or availability in what’s needed to get finished,” said Ost.

In the meantime, Ost is continuing to look for ways to close the remaining funding gap and show appreciation to the businesses, individuals and community groups that have contributed to the project thus far.

“We just want to let them know how thankful we are for their support,” Ost said.

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