Expansion Plans: Sukup Partners with North Iowa Child Care Provider
Jan 12, 2023
Sukup Manufacturing Co. is pleased to announce plans are underway to build an additional child care facility in Sheffield. Company leaders say they are teaming up with Charlie Brown Preschool & Child Care in an effort to positively impact families and communities across north Iowa.
Emily Schmitt, Sukup CAO/General Counsel, has seen how the shortage of care has impacted her company’s workforce growth and overall community sustainability. As past chair of the Governor’s Child Care Task Force, Emily brings a unique, but clear vision to the table.
“A lack of childcare is not something we want our employees to face each week. We know that family is at the core of what we do, and when we applied for this grant, our hope was to ease their child care concerns.”
Charlie Brown Preschool & Childcare has served north Iowa for more than 50 years. Currently, there are two locations in Mason City and one in Clear Lake. Amber Morud is Charlie Brown’s Executive Director and believes the partnership is a good fit.
“We are excited to be joining forces with a great company like Sukup to provide quality childcare to the families of Sheffield and surrounding areas. Sukup and Charlie Brown recognize that quality childcare is essential to the continued growth and success of Sheffield.”
Sukup applied for in June and in September received the, “Future Ready Iowa Child Care Infrastructure” matching grant. That funding will allow the creation of a Sheffield facility that will accommodate 150 child care slots. The grant considered creativity in collaboration and partnership. Sukup joined forces with West Fork Schools, Charlie Brown Preschool & Child Care, United Bank and Trust Sheffield/Hampton.
The site for the child care center is undeveloped land by First Grace Baptist Church. This allows the opportunity for continued city growth and partnerships with First Grace Baptist. Leaders see the positive in the potential.
“A daycare center is needed in Sheffield. Many students are lost to open enrollment due to the lack of daycare in the area,” stated Mike Kruger, West Fork Superintendent.
There are opportunities for bus transportation in partnership with West Fork Schools and the new child care facility if needed. Final agreements are being discussed.
A Sukup-initiated survey conducted this summer shows:
- 90+ families seeking Sheffield-area childcare
- Families drive up to 30 miles for providers
- Many families would make the switch if a Sheffield option is available
For families living and working in the community, the potential for an in-town provider is huge. “We rely on my mom, mainly. If she is not available, I have to take a vacation day. There are no drop-in spots available in the area,” says Sheffield mother of two, and full time Sukup employee, Katy Lubkeman.
The new facility will be in addition to long-time Sheffield provider Apple Daycare. Sukup had proposed a partnership with Apple but ultimately their company’s Board of Directors decided to go a different direction. Both companies agree there’s a need for increased access to child care.
Those at Sukup Manufacturing Co. are excited to work together as a community to make this a successful project and give access to families who need child care, in the summer of 2024. More details will emerge as the process moves forward.