Just like the children it cares for, Lil’ Cubs Child Care Center in Nevada is growing.
This summer, owner Amy Coogler is adding a 70 x 70-foot addition to her existing structure. The new space will allow the facility to house up to 75 more children, and bring another infant room, 2-year-olds’ room and school-age room to the center.
“We’ll be moving the 1-year-olds’ classroom to a larger area and also adding a pre-K room. There will be a new playground too,” said Coogler, who went from providing child care in her home back in the early 2000s, to the center she has now.
It was 2014 when Coogler opened Lil’ Cubs Child Care Center, in what used to be the Faith Lutheran Church and then the Lutheran For Life headquarters, on the corner of South G Avenue and 11th Street in Nevada.
“I had always wanted to own my own child care center. I was at a max capacity at my old location (Lil’ Cubs Preschool, which was located in the Seventh-day Adventist Church/School building on Sixth Street) and had always wanted to expand further. My dear sister-in-law passed away at the age of 44 of spine, lung and brain cancer. Christine and I were the same age and it struck me one day….you never know how long we have on this earth, so make the most of it,” Coogler said. She decided then and there she needed to expand into a full child care facility. And it wasn’t as if she had no experience in the field. Coogler had worked in child care in four other states before her family moved back to Iowa.
Coogler knew there was a need for a child care center in Nevada, “and I knew I was the one to do it,” she confirmed. “There are many excellent in-home providers, but there are many families that desire the child care setting. I felt like Christine was with me through the whole process of opening this facility.”
Coogler said business has been wonderful at the center. “It steadily grew, day by day, as I enrolled more families of Nevada and surrounding communities.” Her location, just down the street from the new Story Medical Center, has worked out well. “I love this location. There is easy access from anywhere in town. It is also perfect for those who don’t live in the town of Nevada to quickly jump off Highway 30 and we are right there. They’re able to get right back on (the highway) and continue to work,” she said. Lil’ Cubs has children from Zearing, Colo, Collins, Ames, Huxley, Kelley and even Boone at its facility.
When Lil’ Cubs Child Care Center opened its doors, it had 18 children enrolled. “Many of the classrooms sat empty, just waiting for more children to fill our center and classrooms,” Coogler remembers. “Slowly, but steadily, the classrooms filled with children’s laughter,” she said.
Her decision to add on at this time came because of a continued need. Each week she has received calls from families that need child care for their children. “Many times I am not able to accommodate the families because the classroom is full; they are placed on our waiting list. I just felt like now was the right time (to expand),” she said.
With the addition, Lil’ Cubs will be able to house 12 more infants, eight more 1-year-olds, 10 more 2-year-olds, 24 pre-kindergarten children and 30 more school-age kids.
The work began on the addition at the beginning of this month and is expected to be completed by the end of August. The new building will be attached to the existing building directly to the south. Her center has remained open during the construction. “My amazing contractor, Mike Doty, always does his best, and works with us to do any of those things that may disrupt the children during the evening or on the weekend,” she said.
As she looks to the future of her business, Coogler believes the outlook is bright.
“I see providing more and more quality child care for the children. allowing Lil’ Cubs staff to further their education of child care through quality training and classes, and also to provide more wonderful experiences for the children enrolled,” she said. Lil’ Cubs Childcare Center currently has 18 full-time employees and eight part-time employees. “I will be able to employ nine more full-time employees and several more part-time employees (after the expansion),” she said. “I not only think it is amazing to provide quality child care to the families of the community, but to also bring more than 40 job opportunities here as well.”
Coogler thanks the community for its support of her business. “Whether it is from trusting us with the care of your children, the kind words about our facility or staff or all of the toy/clothes donations that I receive,” she said, she’s thankful. “I so appreciate the items that are donated and they are always put to good use. When I bring new toys into classrooms, the excitement and joy of the children’s faces are priceless. Thank you for thinking of us!”
She looks forward, also, she said, to inviting the newspaper back for a look at the renovations once they are complete! Stay tuned!