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A SMARTER approach to child care

Mangesh Mane and his wife, Hema Sai Kishore, had a "eureka" moment while thinking about starting a business in Rochester.The couple is the driving force behind Eureka Kids, a new child-care facility being built at 3675 Ninth St. NW, just off West...

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Hema Sai Kishore, left, and Mangesh Mane, right, are the founders of Eureka Kids, a new child-care facility being built in northwest Rochester.
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Mangesh Mane and his wife, Hema Sai Kishore, had a "eureka" moment while thinking about starting a business in Rochester.

While both work full time in information technology, they are especially interested in children with four of their own. They also noticed local child-care options were not increasing along with the community’s Destination Medical Center-driven growth.

"We wanted to do something of our own … We are both passionate about children. Passion combined with community need resulted in …," explained Sai Kishore, gesturing to the under-construction child-care center she walked through.

The couple is the driving force behind Eureka Kids , a new child-care facility being built at 3675 Ninth St. NW, just off West Circle Drive.

The 7,600-square-foot complex will accommodate about 100 preschool children ages 6 weeks to 6 years old, when it opens at the end of July. It will care for children from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

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The center features seven classrooms, a commercial kitchen, a large common room, a nursing room for visiting mothers, playground and more.

Eureka Kids is slated to host an open house for the public July 24 and then open for business July 30.

They plan to have a staff of 16 to 17 employees, including a director, two assistant directors and a full-time chef.

Angela Vierkant is the director of the new center. Vierkant is known locally as the former director of Bethany Nursery School, which closed last year.

The closure of Bethany Nursery is just one example of why the local need for child care has grown in recent years.

Families First of Minnesota and United Way of Olmsted County commissioned a study in 2017 and found the capacity for child care in the area is short by an estimated 1,900 children. While some centers have opened since that study was conducted, it’s clear a deficit still exists.

"We have seen the struggle that people go through finding good quality child care," Mane said.

Quality is the major focus for the couple. When they started looking into child care, they found existing locations didn’t meet all of their expectations, particularly in regards to security. That’s why they decided to build from the ground up.

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They also looked into child care franchises but decided they preferred to create something new of their own.

Working with Vierkant, the couple has crafted a philosophy that incorporates the STEAM education approach of introducing children to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The Eureka model also adds reading and relationships to the mix to create the SMARTER teaching concept of science.

"From a young age, we will also emphasize music, dance and yoga," said Sai Kishore.

Looking around at the facility they have spent about a year and a half creating, Mane emphasized the care that went into designing the best spaces possible for the children and staff, plus keeping it all very secure.

"Taking care of people’s children is a huge responsibility, and it is one we take very seriously," he said.

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