New child care center spreads its wings in Solon Springs
A collaborative effort by the community, the center is housed in a former church.
A Presbyterian church turned child care center will open its doors Monday, Jan. 17, in Solon Springs.
Eagles' Nest Childcare Center welcomes children ages 6 weeks through age 4. The center has space for up to 33 children and will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.
“We are excited to provide this opportunity because day care options are so very limited,” said Solon Springs District Administrator Frank Helquist.
The child care center is open to anyone in the area, not just Solon Springs families.
Both before and after school programming will be available at the center for Solon Springs students ages 4-13, who will be bused by the district.
“Our goal is to try to get them to stay in the district,” said Alana Hill, the center's director.
Community feedback on the new child care facility has been positive, Helquist said. A December open house and silent auction in the space was well-attended.
“Parents, they’re very excited to not have to drive to Superior every day for child care, drive to Hayward or anywhere like that. They’re excited to just be right here,” said Hill, who lives in Minong.
Eagles' Nest is a collaborative effort between the nonprofit Solon Springs Forward , which owns the building, and the school district, which has a two-year lease for the space.
Prep work for the facility included removing the kitchen, adding new walls to partition the upstairs into two classrooms, a new bathroom downstairs and sinks upstairs. There was also a lot of cleaning.
“They left everything behind. They were here one day and gone the next,” Hill said of the congregation. “Pews, Bibles, kitchen stuff, everything.”
Including two pianos, both in tune.
Solon Springs High School students volunteered to clean the space and fence the outdoor playground area. Industrial technology students helped tape and mud the new walls.
Outfitting the center was a community effort. People from Solon Springs, Gordon, Minong and the surrounding area donated toys, equipment and funds.
“So donations — money donations, toy donations, buying things off the Amazon Wish List, that’s how everything was put together," Hill said.
In addition to Hill, the center will employ nine child care workers.
“We have a lot of college students. So they’re doing practicum hours, getting their hands involved. A lot of them have graduated from Solon or from Minong, so this will keep them in the area,” Hill said.
A recent graduate from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, the 23-year-old Hill was planning to start a child care center in Solon Springs due to the need in the area. The last two day cares in Solon Springs closed during the summer of 2021, she said.
A search for child care providers within a 20-mile radius of the village turned up seven entries on the Wisconsin Department of Children and Family’s Youngstar site. Only one, Eagles' Nest, was in Solon Springs. The next closest was the seasonal YMCA camp in Lake Nebagamon, 10 miles away.
"Everybody had to, like, rush to find child care. And its hard to find child care, especially for younger age (children)," Hill said.
Prepping the new space for children in tandem with the school district, she said, has been an adventure.
"I'm very excited to be here. And it's a new adventure for me and it's a new adventure for them ... I think we've kind of made a good team," Hill said.
Hill's 1-year-old niece was the first child to test out the new play space. The feedback was once again positive.
“She was so excited. She took toys out everywhere,” Hill said.
There are openings available for child care spots in both classrooms. Anyone with questions should call 715-718-6141, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Solon Springs Eagles' Nest Childcare Facebook page for more information.