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Low-cost child care boon to residents

Fred Moore Day Nursery School Inc. is planning to expand its facilities on Cross Timber Street to offer affordable child care for low-income families with children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.

The current 5,089-square-foot building — which houses five classrooms, an office, janitor’s closet, kitchen, utility space and restrooms — will be expanded an additional 4,322 square feet by next spring, officials say.

The extra space will accommodate two additional classrooms for infants and toddlers and will allow the school to accept an additional 25 children, bringing its total enrollment to an estimated 100 youngsters.

The school is the only income-based child care center in Denton County providing service to low-income families with children ages 2 and younger.

Funded by sliding-scale tuition fees, donations, fundraisers and various grants, Fred Moore Day Nursery School is making the improvements with Community Development Block Grants totaling an estimated $676,459. The grants have allowed the improvements to be divided into several phases.

The first phase involved interior renovations and an additional toddler classroom. A second phase will include two additional classrooms, a parking lot and a retaining wall. A third phase will include an activity room, three storage spaces and two additional offices.

The second and third phases are planned to be finished by May or June 2014.

School officials have already put nearly $23,000 into the fund to go toward architectural fees and hope to kick off a capital campaign in October to raise $250,000 to finish paying for the project, which is estimated to cost $806,121.

The improvements are the first since 1995. A groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion is slated for 11 a.m. Oct. 5 at the school, located at 821 Cross Timbers St.

Fred Moore Day Care Nursery School has made a difference in many lives, including Linda Elaiho, a cook at the nursery where her 4-year-old twins are enrolled.

A year ago, the divorced mother of four said she was unemployed and attending school to become a nurse. Unable to pay $1,000 a month in child care for her twins, Elaiho considered quitting school and getting a job to cover the expenses she faced.

Counselors steered the mother to Fred Moore Day Nursery School, where she has found the help she needed.

Her story is one of many and showcases the ever growing need for such services in Denton County.

By providing affordable child care to families in need, we can provide an important stepping stone for families trying to improve their income situations.

It is a need we can’t afford not to support. The alternative would not only be costly but put more roadblocks in the paths of fellow residents working to better their lives.