McKenzie County to explore adding new childcare facility

WATFORD CITY, ND (KUMV) – McKenzie County has been named the fastest growing country in the 2020 census, and officials say they do not expect to see it slow down any time soon. As families move into the region, officials say the need for more childcare services is essential.

Nearly 8,000 people have made McKenzie County their home since 2010, and although the quality of life in the region has improved, the lack of adequate child care has frustrated parents.

With just two licensed daycare centers in Watford City, one mother told Your News Leader that her child had been on a waiting list since last October and could be there until August.

Another mother said paying for her three children to attend day care was difficult due to inflation and was worried that there were no more options. Wolf Pup Daycare has been in operation since 2014 and has maximum capacity since they opened their doors.

“I feel bad for the people on the waiting list, because some of them have been there for months, if not a year. We just do not have a lot of influx, ”said Tessa Moberg, director of Wolf Pups Daycare.

Census data show that nearly 10% of McKenzie County’s population is younger than five years old and that the country’s median age is 30.3, well below the state’s average of 35.5.

To help alleviate the shortage and to bring in more labor, some city and county leaders are seeking to build a second Wolf Pup facility, capable of adding another 180 children.

“We need all the workers we can get. No one has enough workers in any field, and they all come with children. We have to take care of the kids to get the workers, ”said Clint Wold, County Commissioner.

Wolf Pup Daycare officials told McKenzie County Commissioners last week that this new facility would be located east of town near Fox Hills Elementary.

Financial costs and financing are expected to be discussed by the commission in August.

Officials hope to break ground this fall, with a grand opening in 2024.

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