This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

Simplified: Connections with the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance helped a Garretson day care provider connect with the funding opportunities needed to expand.

Tell me more

Blue Dragon Academy in Garretson opened a brand new building in 2019 with the capacity for 105 kids.

Two months later, it was full, and today another 39 kids are on the wait list, said Kris Frerk, who's on the day care's governing board.

That's why Blue Dragon Academy is planning a roughly 3,400 square foot expansion to make room for another 50 to 60 kids.

  • And it wouldn't have been possible without funding help from the Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund – a connection she said was made possible by the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.
"It's a true miracle," Frerk said of the funding help. "It's unbelievable."

Why it matters

  • Child care is a major need right now in the Sioux Falls metro area. Many parents find themselves on wait lists, and centers are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.
  • It's also hard to find financing for child care, Frerk said. In fact, the bank denied the child care providers a bank loan when they were looking to build the building they're in now.
  • The REED Fund allows the day care provider to have the loan it needs at a low-interest rate. The fund helps bridge the gap in financing projects like the Blue Dragon Academy expansion.
"We're often able to come up with clever ways to get projects across the finish line," said Eric Fosheim, economic development manager with the REED Fund.

Tell me more about the new addition

Blue Dragon Academy's new facility will not only open up more spots for families in need of child care, but it'll also have a large room community members can rent for events when it's not in-use by children.

The addition will also provide more space for kids to come for before- and after-school care, giving parents more flexibility at work knowing their kids have a safe place to go outside of the school day.

What happens next?

The hope is to start construction on the addition in mid to late April, with the goal of having the new addition completed by early November, Frerk said.

The child care group is also focusing on fundraising as it looks to raise nearly $240,000 as part of the agreement with the REED Fund, she added.