Kwik Trip plans to turn La Crosse building into employee child-care center

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The child-care crisis is present in La Crosse. Kwik Trip presented its own solution Friday with plans for an employee child-care center.

The gas station/convenience store chain offered its proposal at the city’s Commercial and Multi-Family Design Review Committee meeting Friday.

The “Kwik Trip Kids Learning Center” would be in the former La Crosse Wellness Center building at 2839 Darling Court.

“It’s obviously something that’s a challenge for a lot of people right now,” said Bryan Novy, a Kwik Trip representative. “This is something that we think will really help our coworkers, which in turn should help our community as well.”

This facility wouldn’t be the first for employers in La Crosse. Gundersen Health System offers a child-care center for its employees, as does UW-La Crosse for students, staff and some alumni.

“The first five years of a child’s life are some of the most important developmentally,” said Bethany Bright, who works for the YWCA.

The YWCA’s child-care facility on Western Technical College’s campus offers spots for students if they are available.

“Right now, we have over 50 people on the waiting list,” Bright said.

For many, it’s hard to get that essential care.

“Everybody has waiting lists, and the waiting lists are long,” said Dawn Hays at UWL’s child-care center.

She sees the benefits of an employer-owned child-care center.

“People are very comfortable knowing their children are very close by,” Hays said.

The Kwik Trip child-care center would have classrooms, an art room and a library, with enough room for what Vantage Architect representatives say would serve 168 children with 40 staff members.

This could potentially free up spots on other care facilities’ wait lists.

“If we want our economy to work the way it’s supposed to, parents who are in the workforce need to have a place for their children to go,” Hays said.

Opening up another option as parents are searching.

Kwik Trip declined to provide any further comment at this time.

Kwik Trip bought the building last fall, but the timeline of the project going forward is still unknown.

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