Austin turns out to get a look at Apple LanePublished 11:11am Thursday, October 24, 2013
Hundreds of residents got to see a bright, new future at Apple Lane Child Care Center Wednesday.
The Austin daycare held an open house for its new 17,000-square-foot facility on the west end of Riverland Community College’s west campus. The center, which opened in mid-June, was the result of a $3 million construction effort.
“We love it,” said Lisa Sathre, Apple Lane employee. “It’s great for the kids. Everybody has their own Space. It’s wonderful.”
Inside, the former ag diesel building is unrecognizable. What once was dark-gray, cold steel is now a bright, colorful corridor of classrooms and wide-open play area with jungle gym, basketball hoops, mats, climbing wall and more.
“It’s great,” said Shelley Plummer, whose 2-year-old son, Jake, attends Apple Lane. “It’s very kid-oriented.”
According to Riverland, the facility will annually serve 300 or more children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. Riverland representatives say the new child care center will serve more than just children, as students in Riverland’s nursing, human services, law enforcement and other programs will learn in the work setting. It also opens the opportunity for new associate and bachelor degree programs, they say.
The project idea started about two years ago was eventually made possible by donations of $2 million from the Hormel Foundation, $1 million from the Hormel Foods Charitable Trust, $50,000 from Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, $25,000 from the Development Corporation of Austin and $10,000 from the Hirsh Foundation.
As a result, the community has an improved child care center.
“It looks like a lot of fun,” Riverland softball coach Ron Bergstrom said.
—Matt Peterson contributed to this report.