Wickman Center completes 1st year of service


June 30th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

A facility in Atlantic which provides licensed daycare service to as many as 75 children, is celebrating the first anniversary of its opening this week. The Ann W. Wickman Child Development Center opened on June 28th, 2010. The facility employs 22 staffers, in addition to Executive Director Dianna Williams.

Williams says the Wickman Center averages between 48 and 65 kids per day. 27 of those students receive assistance from the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Center is licensed to hold 75. 138 children are enrolled at the facility. Six months ago, there were 90 children enrolled, and 19 staffers employed at the facility, which run by the Nishna Valley Family YMCA. Food for the center is made possible through an arrangement with Hy-Vee.

The Wickman Child Development Center recently received certification as a Natural Learning Environment Playground from Nature Resources, and a Community Impact Award from the YMCA.

Southwest Iowa Family Services (SWIFS) President Hal Gronewold says the first year’s results for the facility exceeded expectations. He attributes its success was attributed to the fact it is a state-of-the-art facility, and to the leadership provided by Williams and her staff, along with the expertise of the YMCA…the nation’s largest childcare provider.

Gronewold says also, their fundraising campaign had been completed for the facility. More than $1.15-million in grants and donations have been raised, covering over 70-percent of the construction costs. The remainder of the costs are covered by long-term mortgages from USDA Rural Development and First Whitney Bank and Trust.