Posted 8/05/14 (Tue)
By Stephanie Allums
Farmer Staff Writer
Wolf Pup Daycare in Watford City received a $50,000 donation from Hess Corporation last week, bringing the total donation amount to roughly $1.2 million for the daycare project.
The $4.7 million daycare facility, which has a capacity for 190 children, opened enrollment this week. The grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 16.
The Hess Corporation donation will be used to help cover the cost of educational equipment and furniture for the preschool and three-year-old classrooms.
“The growing populations in western regions of the state are a positive sign of the future of North Dakota,” Steve McNally, Hess general manager in North Dakota, said. “By assisting the nonprofit daycare centers to provide quality preschool education and safe places for children, our entire state is benefiting today and into the future.”
Katie Walters, fundraising coordinator and business manager of Wolf Pup Daycare, is hoping that the opening of this new daycare will allow for more stay-at-home parents to join the local workforce.
“It hurts the economic growth when there is an increase in population, but a lot of them are not in the workforce,” Walters said. “We are hoping that more people can get into the retail and professional fields here. There are so many positions open right now because of the lack of daycare. Maybe this will help ease up on things.”
Along with 190 spots for children, Wolf Pup will have 40 to 45 new employees this month.
Roughly 50 children, who currently attend Wiggles & Giggles Daycare in Watford City, will be transferred to Wolf Pup on Aug. 11 - leaving nearly 140 open spots for the public. The spots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.
“The daycare needs in the area are well over 1,000 children,” Walters said. “We are only scratching the surface. I want to get as many children here as possible.”
Registration will open on Aug. 16 to the public. There will be infants, toddlers, and preschoolers - all in one building.
“The children are pretty well segregated by their ages,” Walters said.
There are 16 classrooms, three separate age-appropriate playgrounds for the children, a multi-purpose indoor playroom for cold weather play, child-sized fixtures in each classroom, a full size commercial kitchen, and two washer and dryer sets.
“A lot of people that come here want something of this level and quality,” Walters said. “This is huge. We are extremely grateful for the assistance from Hess and other energy and local companies, along with private donations. We’ve had quite a bit of support from companies subsidizing the cost to help make this project more affordable for the community.”
Hess Corporation strives to help build and maintain quality of life issues within the communities that they impact. It’s an integral part of their energy business.
“We want to make the places that we are living and working in a better place to live - not just for us, but for the residents and community,” McNally said. “The school system here has a good record of grades and graduating students. We want to help better prepare students of all ages. I think the Watford City ‘fathers’ are doing the right thing here by trying to plan ahead.”
Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford said, “We are very thankful for Hess’s support with this project. They have been a part of our community since 1951 and they’ve always supported us.”
“Watford City is growing by leaps and bounds everyday,” Walters said. “This was an important project and we have all worked hard to complete it as quickly as possible.”