Kwik Trip plans to convert the La Crosse building into a childcare center for employees

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WKBT) — The childcare crisis is present in La Crosse. Kwik Trip presented its own solution on Friday with plans for an employee childcare.

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

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

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

This facility would not be the first for employers in La Crosse. Gundersen Health System offers childcare facilities for its employees, as does UW-La Crosse for students, employees and some alumni.

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

The YWCA daycare on the Western Technical College campus offers places for students when available.

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

For many, it is difficult to get that essential care.

“Everyone has waiting lists and the waiting lists are long,” said Dawn Hays of UWL Children’s Center.

She sees the benefits of an employer-owned childcare center.

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

The Kwik Trip nursery would have classrooms, an art space and a library, with enough space for what Vantage Architect representatives say would serve 168 children with 40 staff members.

As a result, places may become available on the waiting lists of other healthcare institutions.

“If we want our economy to work the way it should, parents who are at work need to have a place for their kids to go to,” Hays said.

Open another option while parents search.

Kwik Trip declined to comment further at this time.

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

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