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School re-opens as day-care site

Holy Cross offering child care

Holy Cross child care

Who: Holy Cross Lutheran Church.

What: Opening child-care center for children age 16 months to 12 years old.

Where: Holy Cross, 300 16th St. N.E., Austin.

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When: Starts Monday.

Cost: $30 registration fee per child along with $3 per hour charge per child.

For more information: Call Sue Wollenburg at 433-7844.

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

A few former classrooms at Holy Cross Lutheran Church will be serving a new purpose for children.

Holy Cross plans to launch a child-care center Monday in its school building attached to the church at 300 16th St. N.E. near Austin’s East Side Lake.

The former Lutheran school for kindergarten through fifth grade closed prior to the 2006-2007 school year because of declining enrollment, but its preschool programming, which started in 1974 for ages 3 to 5, has continued.

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Now some vacant classrooms will be used for the new state-licensed child-care services for kids 16 months to 12 years old to attend part- or full-time. The hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

For about 10 years, church officials have discussed offering child care before and after school, said Sue Wollenburg, the preschool and child-care center director.

There’s a big need in Austin for day care.

"There’s such a shortage," Wollenburg said.

Bree Phillips, lead preschool teacher at Holy Cross, said there especially is a need for a child-care facility on Austin’s east side.

With the center, Holy Cross can have up to seven toddlers, 20 preschoolers and 20 school-age children, Wollenburg said. There always will be two staff members in each room.

The day-care center is in the process of hiring staff, she said, but she wasn’t sure on Wednesday how many will be needed.

A toddler room in the school’s basement will be for children 16 months to 32 months, Wollenburg said.

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On the upper floor, one room will be for 33 months to 4 years, and another for 5 years to 12 years.

Holy Cross has an excellent facility for child-care services, Wollenburg said, particularly because it has a gym. Each room has a computer, she added, and it’s close to Neveln Elementary School, so kids can walk to Holy Cross after school.

Fun and educational activities will be offered.

The center also plans to put in new playground equipment this weekend in the fenced play area in back.

Wollenburg, who ran a home day-care center for 10 years in Austin, said the child-care center is something she’s always wanted to do. She joined the Holy Cross preschool in 1993 as an aide and became a teacher the following year.

Holy Cross can offer a loving staff in a Christian atmosphere, Wollenburg said, while noting that the staff won’t teach religion but will lead children in prayer before snacks.

Wollenburg said the plan is to offer within a year services for infants younger than 16 months.

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