Budz ‘n Bloom Daycare growing like a weed


Online-daycare layout

 Submitted Image. The layout of the daycare attached to the middle school being constructed in Neepawa.

By Kira Paterson

Neepawa Banner & Press

Our growing town means a growing need for a new, larger daycare facility. Budz ‘n Bloom Daycare in Neepawa has been working on finding additional space to meet this need.

At a recent Rotary Club meeting in Neepawa, a presentation was made concerning the new daycare facility being constructed on the grounds of the new Neepawa Middle School.

Marla Steen made the presentation and is Chair of the Budz ‘n Bloom board. Steen explained that they originally were looking at finding a vacant lot to build on themselves - they had even begun drawing up plans for construction on the lot where the former Neepawa Resource Centre stood.  During the planning process, the Province of Manitoba revealed plans for the new Neepawa Middle School, which included a new daycare facility. The board then had to consider whether or not it would be viable to build a new daycare facility that wouldn’t be running at full capacity with another new daycare in the community. With this in mind, the board decided to submit a proposal to Beautiful Plains School Division (BPSD) to be considered as the daycare provider for the facility. After reviewing all the applications, Budz ‘n’ Bloom was chosen in August.

Currently, Budz ‘n Bloom daycare has a licensed capacity of 63 children. In September of 2017, the school aged children were moved from the main daycare facility on Hamilton Street to the Prairie Alliance Church on Main Street, which allowed them to increase the spaces for that age group from 12 to 15. This expansion also allowed for eight more spaces for preschool children aged two to five at the Hamilton Street location, which made a total of 40 spaces for preschool ages and eight spaces for infants 12 weeks to two years old.

At their current facility, Budz ‘n Bloom daycare has 13 staff members, who provide care to the children between the hours of 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. “Our staff continue to amaze us every day. They provide our children with learning opportunities through play, field trip experiences, support and encouragement. We are lucky to have them,” said Steen.

The new building will be licensed for 74 children, more than doubling the total number of group day care spaces in our community. There are 20 spaces allocated for infants, with the remaining 54 for preschool age. Steen added that there are currently no plans for an increase in the capacity of spaces for school aged children. “As a board we are aware that there will still be a critical shortage of spaces for school aged children. In the coming months, we will be conducting a child care needs survey to get a better understanding of the number, type and hours of childcare that residents need in our town,” Steen explained. Their existing daycare will continue to operate as it currently does.  

As the Province of Manitoba has a predetermined design for any new daycares being built with schools, the Province is covering the cost of the construction itself. Budz ‘n Bloom will be responsible for furnishings, equipment and any upgrades to the building that they see necessary. There will also be a monthly fee paid to BPSD, being that the building is on the Middle School property, however the fee is yet to be determined as there is not a finalized contract drawn up.

Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care determines the equipment, supplies and safety standards that Budz ‘n Bloom will be required to provide. This includes cribs and cots for naps, as well as tables, chairs and water tables for the classrooms. They are also required to have appliances such as fridge, stove, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer for the daycare to operate. Steen added, “While the actual cost of the building is being paid for by the government, there will still be substantial start-up cost that Budz ‘n Bloom will be responsible for.” The board expects the total start-up costs to be more than $250,000. They plan to cover some of that through fundraising and grants, however, what they can’t raise they will pay for by remortgaging their existing building.

Not included in the estimated start-up costs is a playground, which Budz ‘n Bloom would like to provide for the children. While there are no specific plans for a playground yet, they are looking at including benches, planter boxes, trees and play structures. The playground will also need a fence to keep the children safe.

The daycare itself is scheduled to be complete for September of 2019, along with the rest of the Middle School building. “As a board, we are excited to be part of this legacy project in the community,” said Steen.