SITKA - Sheldon Jackson College has received a $605,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a new child-care center on campus.
The grant, combined with a $245,000 Rural Development loan to SJC, will provide enough funds to build a new child-care facility on an acre of land between the Hames Physical Education Center parking lot and Jeff Davis Street, said Stuart Denslow, SJC land and facilities manager.
"We're delighted, to say the least," Denslow said. "It's been a longstanding plan to build a day-care center."
The college has provided child-care service for children of students, staff, faculty and members of the community for about 10 years in the Rasmuson Center. Child care was moved off campus three years ago because of the remodeling project on the Rasmuson building.
One of the conditions of a $1 million grant to renovate the Rasmuson Center was that the child-care center eventually be moved to another site, Denslow said.
For the past three years, the SJC Child Care Center has operated a smaller program using leased space in the old Alice Island school, now owned by Shee Atika Inc.
SJC Child Care Director Lolly Miller said the college has continued to offer its child-care program for kids 30 months and up, but since the move has had to suspend most of its services for infants and toddlers between ages six weeks and 30 months, and an after-school care program for older kids.
Miller said she's looking forward to being back on campus and offering a full program for kids of all ages, which included about 65 full- and part-time participants at is peak.
"This town is hurting for infant programs," Miller said.