Little Miners Community Daycare has a home

Esterhazy board signs lease with Good Spirit School Division

June 3, 2024, 10:48 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


The Little Miners Community Daycare Board confirmed last week that they have signed a lease with the Good Spirit School Division. The board noted they are leasing space at the Esterhazy High School with enough floor space to be licensed for 70 spaces.

Last November, the provincial government announced an 2,300 additional daycare spaces across 51 facilities throughout Saskatchewan—a $23.5 million allocation. Little Miners plans to use 55 of those funded spaces while the remaining 15 non-funded spots will be devoted to before and after school spaces for students in Grade 1 and older.

The group is currently working with an architect to create a design plan, noting they are still in the very early stages of planning.

“We’ve been back and forth with Little Miners for about a year. We’ve had conversations with them, prompted by the community that there was a need for childcare spaces and a lack of suitable locations,” said Quintin Robertson, Director of Education/CEO with the Good Spirit School Division. “We did have some real estate that could be utilized at the high school, so we entered into conversations with them and MLA Warren Kaeding, folks from Mosaic and a few other key partners and came to the agreement that we would free up one section of the school that was under-utilized, and they will be, I think, ready to operate next fall.”

Actual renovations to the space will be inside on the existing structure, built to fit the needs for the daycare.

“We’re hoping that through this joint partnership, we illustrate the school division’s community mindedness and that Esterhazy High School get future consideration for a major capital application upgrade from the province,” Robertson explained. “We’ve been placed on the top 10 list for major capital, and we’re hoping that by showing this interest in supporting the community and utilizing the space to the fullest, that will give some much needed renovations to the school.”

Melville-Saltcoats MLA Warren Kaeding is also hopeful that the partnership between Little Miners and GSSD will be mutually beneficial.

“I know they (Esterhazy High School) need a major renovation there, and they were definitely on the shortlist, just unfortunately were not in the top two. So that’s a little disappointing for me, and certainly for the school division, but I think this bodes well for the future; to see them get some significant funds going into there, too,” he said. “Good Spirit School Division has been helping them (Little Miners Community Daycare Board), guiding them through the process. I actually just talked to the principal of the high school yesterday. Literally, everything has been moved out of the area now, there’s been painting done. It just looks like everything is starting to move ahead here in a very positive way.”

While further details are not available, Robertson did confirm the lease will be for 25 years with a very low rental, being “just a cost recovery from the school division perspective.”

“It’s not completely ideal that it’s attached to a high school—and probably would have been more favourable attached to an elementary school—we just didn’t have the space,” Robertson said, posing a possible future scenario where high school students and children at the daycare could find themselves together. “There’s some synergy that could be found with high school students, and maybe some early childhood education opportunities where they could be working in the daycare.”

The Little Miners Community Daycare Board will also be planning fundraisers and reaching out for sponsorships soon, and volunteers are always welcome.