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Iron Range Tykes

Iron Range Tykes

Iron Range Tykes

You wouldn’t think careers in marriage and family therapy would have a lot to do with canoeing, rappelling and rock climbing.

Iron Range Tykes, a new 8,520 square foot childcare center, will open next month in Mountain Iron and serve up to 90 children ages six weeks to 12 years old. Located across from Lake Country Power, the facility was made possible with a development infrastructure grant from Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation to the city of Mountain Iron.

The center will feature five classrooms with daily curriculum, a gymnasium, two outdoor playgrounds and a commercial kitchen to prepare home cooked, nutritious meals. It will serve up to 12 infants, 28 toddlers, 20 preschoolers and 30 school age children and operate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Busing will be provided for the Virginia, Mountain Iron-Buhl, Eveleth-Gilbert and Cherry school districts.

“The opening of Iron Range Tykes is very important to our area families, employers and workforce,” said Mark Phillips, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation commissioner. “The state of Minnesota, including the Iron Range, has a childcare shortage which is a critical economic issue. The new center will be a tremendous asset to our region.”

According to the Center for Rural Policy and Development, the state’s childcare need is by far the greatest in northeastern Minnesota where there's a huge gap between the number of families needing child care and the number of providers available.

“Our goal is to be the Iron Range’s recognized leader in childcare, and our motto is learning through play,” said Shawntel Gruba, Iron Range Tykes owner and operator. “There will be art and music outside as an extension of our classroom, and we will be implementing HighScope, an early childhood curriculum used by the Mountain Iron-Buhl school district.”

According to Gruba, the center’s experienced and credentialed staff of 15, the use of new technologies and the new building construction including in-floor heat make Iron Range Tykes a unique and innovative child care center in the region.

A mobile app called Brightwheel will be utilized by Iron Range Tykes. Designed specifically for child care centers, the platform enables parent engagement through messaging, photos, videos, daily reports for meals, naps and activities and bill payments.

Iron Range Tykes is a prevailing wage construction project paying union wages. Local union company Mesabi Bituminous completed all of the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation-funded work. The project was supported by University of Minnesota Small Business Development Center (UMD SBDC), and an open house is scheduled for September. For more information about development infrastructure grants, email Chris Ismil or call him at 218-735-3010.

This article was originally published by the Iron Range Resources Rehabilitation Board in their e-Newsletter on August 15, 2018.

sba_and_sbdc_logos.pngFunded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional support partners. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the program sponsors. Programs are open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact UMD CED at 218-726-7298.