The PRESBY Childcare Center is set to open on April 16 at the First Presbyterian Church in Perry.

Pastor Lynne Hanna said the congregation had been looking into ways to utilize the unused Sunday School wing.

“One of the young moms suggested that there is a need for more child care in Perry. That was the seed and it’s grown from there,” she said.

The idea took some time to become a reality. Talk was started about the center in the summer of 2017. Hanna said church member Lynn Weiser was instrumental in doing a lot of the research that goes into opening a child care center.

Hanna said the building has to meet specific requirements. Some of those requirements include having changing areas in specific places like the infant room, having security systems and fire alarms and limiting the number of kids per a certain amount of square feet.

Director Julie Burkhart said medicine cabinets also had to be installed for safety. And any items that could be bumped had to be secured to the walls.

Shaun Welch was hired as the contractor. The bathrooms were redone, cabinets were installed, a snack area and entry was created out of one the classrooms, along with a laundry area. Welch also oversaw electrical and plumbing work.

Construction started in November of 2017. A licensed consultant with the Iowa Department of Human Services performed an initial inspection on the PRESBY Childcare Center on March 28.

Burkhart said the inspector checked for all the building requirements, that the center had a curriculum put together with developmental charting and checklists. He also checked to see if the center had room schedules and menus set up.

The center passed the initial inspection, which means that it can open its doors on April 16. Burkhart said the inspector will make another visit within 120 days to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Hanna said the center, which will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, has a capacity of 27 children.

“I think they’ll get a lot more individual attention than kids who go to larger centers,” Hanna said.

Children ages six weeks through preschool age will be served at the center. Burkhart said it seems that Perry has a fairly good program for four- and five-year-olds.

The PRESBY center is focusing on the younger children at first. Burkhart said they will be opening room by room depending on the age groups.

“We’re trying to be flexible for what the community needs,” she said.

The center is still taking applications for staff and children. The center will have seven employees when it’s at capacity.

Hanna said the PRESBY center is open to the public. The center, Burkhart said, will feature a mixture of Christian lessons within the curriculum.

“It’s a Christian day care center,” Hanna said. “I’m planning on coming down to pray with the kids before meals. Once a week we’ll have chapel time, where we’ll go up to the sanctuary and sing songs and I’ll tell them a story.”

She is looking forward to seeing the PRESBY Childcare Center up and running.

“One of the reasons I took this church was because of this day care center,” Hanna said. She became the pastor in October of 2017. “This church is really wanting to be a bigger missional presence in the community. This is the beginning of many things to come but is an important contribution to the community.”

She encourages families who are interested to come check out the center during an open house from 2 -4 p.m. on Sunday, April 8 at 1328 4th St. For more information, contact the center at 515-465-5918.

“We’re hoping to get lot of people in and seeing what’s going on here,” Hanna said of the open house.