Mar 16, 2017 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff WriterInitial plans would place the $3.6 million Northern Arapaho Child Care Center west of the Wind River Hotel and Casino.
The Northern Arapaho Tribe has plans to financially support a new child care center for tribal members. The proposal is to construct a single story, 12,720 square foot facility on approximately two acres of Arapaho-owned land west of the Wind River Hotel and Casino.
Executive director of Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing, Patrick Goggles, said the center would start by employing 25 people and be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The center will help employees of the casino and eventually other employees of the local school districts and tribal offices, he said.
"This will be a secure facility where they can take children to," Goggles said, noting that the service doesn't currently exist on the reservation for working families.
"It will provide a reliable, nurturing and thriving environment to support the social and physical development of our community's children, ultimately helping to build a healthier, stronger and more vibrant and viable tribal community," states a public notice published in The Ranger in February.
Assistant general manager of the Wind River Hotel and Casino, Andrea Clifford, said good, quality childcare has been requested by employees for a number of years.
"Good employer-employee relations means listening to the needs of our employees," she said. "We will be able to retain good employees, as well as recruit quality employees, when providing this needed service as an option."
Employees will be more likely to provide good customer service when they know their children are in a safe and secure environment, she added.
"A large majority of our employees choose to resign or quit due to a lack of having good reliable daycare services for their children," she said. "This daycare will be a huge benefit for the working population... it will have a positive impact for generations to come."
The facility will be paid for with money the tribe receives through the Indian Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Goggles said they've determined $1.1 million is available for use, and an additional $2.5 million from ICDBG could be appropriated if tribal members show support of the plan in the next General Council meeting. The date for that meeting has not been set.
"We did our due diligence and worked on the financing, and now we just need authorization from the GC," Goggles said.
The $2.5 million will complete the financial package needed to construct the facility, he said. Plans and specifications are complete, and an architect has estimated construction costs, Goggles noted.
Child care is one of several priorities for the tribe and a necessity for tribal members, Goggles said. He referenced the Wind River Indian Needs Determination Survey which also cited education and health care as the other priorities.
The facility could help single parents who qualify for child care assistance. Other families could be eligible to receive subsidies to help pay for services.
The development of the center is a business decision fully supported by the Northern Arapaho Business Council for continued economic growth, Clifford said.
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