Missoula nonprofit breaks ground on new spaces for child care

Missoula just took a step toward having more child care options.

Construction has now begun at the old Cold Springs School building in the Lower Miller Creek neighborhood of the city to remodel six classrooms for use by independent child care businesses.

It’s all part of a program by the Missoula Child Care Advantage, a network under the umbrella of the nonprofits United Way of Missoula County and Zero to Five Missoula County. The goal is to increase the availability of affordable child care by allowing private businesses to use the spaces at relatively low cost.

“We are celebrating the start of construction with a gathering of project partners and their kids,” said Sally Henkel, MCCA project coordinator with United Way of Missoula County. “It’s exciting to move from planning into construction, and soon, full operations.”

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The collaboration aims to address the severe shortage of affordable child care by offering providers lower rent and free services in the six classrooms so they can maximize their bottom line, pay their employees and focus on the kids. The child care businesses will also have access to a safe outdoor playground.

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