A new child care facility in Sparta opens its doors almost a year after the community lost one of its day cares.
The closing of the Childfirst Center in Sparta last year left nearly 50 families without a day care provider.
Monday, a new day care center called Growing Stars CDC opened its doors in the same building, and it's providing much relief to both parents and staff.
It's a place once again filled with children, but for former director Jennifer Eitland, who had spent 22 years at the old facilities under previous ownership, it was not long ago that this place had no children at all.
"It was a very dark, dreary kind of day,” Eitland said. “We just knew when the doors closed at 5:30 that was going to be the end."
The decision left nearly 50 parents without child care.
"Some of them were just scrambling around,” owner Michelle Schultz said.
In the months that followed Michelle and her husband Scott began working to purchase the center.
"We saw that it had went up for sale, and we were calling that day,” Schultz said.
When Childfirst closed last year, the company said in a statement to News 8 that declining use of large day care facilities was a big reason behind the site's closure.
But according to staff, that demand is still high.
"We do see the demand, and I think now that we're open, with opening day today, I think we'll see more kids come in,” Schultz said.
"I've seen lots of people look for child care the whole time that they have been closed,” Eitland said.
For months, Eitland was left without a job, but now, she is once again home.
"I don't know, there's just something that makes it home. I just spent so many years here that it’s hard not to be here,” Eitland said.
The facility is giving these kids a home during the day once again.
"It feels good to help out the community,” Schultz said.
A number of improvements were done to the facility, including a new camera system.
The total capacity is for the facility is 88.