On May 1, 2023 Chief Executive Officer Lori Mazanec, Chief Operations Officer Jim Bargen, Chris Mischnick of Walter Mischnick Contractors and Builders, Shannon Alwin of Lighthouse Christian Daycare, and many others gathered at the future home of Box Butte General Hospital’s Childcare Center. The gathering was set to commence the groundbreaking of the childcare center. In January 2023, BBGH’s Board of Trustees approved the funds for the renovation of BBGH’s Kiddie Kampus, which will be the location of the new childcare center. The goal of building a childcare center is to relieve the burden of parents having to leave their job due to lack of childcare. Mazanec shared, “Currently, we have a handful of employees that were not be able to return following maternity leave because childcare was not available for their infants. This only compounds the workforce shortage issue before us.”
BBGH and Lighthouse Christian Daycare applied for a grant through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and was awarded $200,000 as part of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s Communities for Kids initiative. The award allows for an increase of 28 child care slots for children ages 0-5 by June 30, 2024. Additionally, BBGH and Lighthouse Christian Daycare received a second grant in the amount of $261,643 from The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Business and Child Care Partnership Grant. These funds will be used for renovations and repairs of the space to bring the building to code and in compliance of a childcare facility.
Shannon Alwin, owner and operator of Lighthouse Christian Daycare shared, “I am pleased to have been awarded the grant from the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation. Through a collaboration with Box Butte General Hospital (BBGH), we will be renovating a building on the hospital’s campus, formerly Kiddie Kampus. Our goal is to have the expanded license, open and accepting children around September 2023. I am excited to work with BBGH to provide care for more children throughout our community. I have 14 years of experience in Nebraska as a family child care provider and welcome this next step in my career as I leave my home environment and embrace the adventures of a center.”
Mazanec, expanded, “Box Butte General Hospital has been exploring options for adding a childcare center to help combat the healthcare workforce shortage, so the opportunity to collaborate with Shannon and Lighthouse Christian Daycare along with the grant award was impeccable timing. The funds will allow for a fast track to expand childcare options for our team, and a much-needed service within Box Butte County. By adding childcare services to our organization allows us to provide another rung for staff retention and recruitment of essential healthcare workers, additionally expanding employment opportunities at BBGH. The Trustees have been completely supportive and understand the impact this will have.”
BBGH is now accepting applications for Teachers and Teacher Assistants for the childcare center. Applications are open and can be accessed through BBGH’s job page at www.bbgh.org. There currently is not a set date for when the childcare center will open. However, the current timeline for completion is in the fall.