Preschool remodel gets a thumb up from congregation

Excited preschool teachers greeted members and friends of IUCC after services on Jan. 13, for an open house of the Child Care Center (informally, the preschool). The teachers had spent 3 hours after work on Friday the 11th, spackling and painting and making the interior look good! Then, all day on Saturday the 12th, they worked on making the spaces into real classrooms for real children. Teachers moved child-sized furniture, toys and learning apparatus from room A to room B, and from B to C, and (you get the point). All of the rooms, to include the new classroom that now occupies the former congregational administrative space, went live on January 14th, as children were a-coming.

Tour-takers were uniformly appreciative. Several noted that it was the first time they’d been in the Atwood Building, as the preschool space is called. Others agreed that the space, a converted temporary building dating back more than two decades, had never looked better.

Here is more background on our very successful service to the community.

The Big Picture. Reacting to a broad consensus forged by both research and lived experience, Governor Gavin Newsome’s proposed state budget for 2019 includes $2 billion in new funding for early childhood education. In turn, this priority is a clear recognition of the crucial role that early childhood education plays in childhood (and adult) success. Children with early learning experiences do better in life. Our Center offers child care and early childhood education to a community that will benefit from early learning. Additionally, in that some client families are recent arrivals to the United States, early childhood learning at IUCC comes with welcome opportunities for acculturation.

A New Classroom. Responding to these community needs, IUCC converted its former church administrative space plus senior pastor’s office into a new classroom, to be used by the preschool during the week, and by the congregation during evenings and weekends. At full capacity, the new classroom will accommodate 12 additional children (two year-olds will be in the room), bringing the preschool to a total of 60 children when fully enrolled. Growth toward full enrollment will occur across 2019, and, given demand, may be achieved quickly.

A Refurbished Kitchen. Within the range of preschool services offered by many providers in Irvine, a key differentiator for the IUCC Child Care Center is the provision of hot lunches. Client families are pleased that we maintain a kitchen, and are excited to see the upgrades that we installed, mostly in December, using Child Care Center financial reserves. We:

  • Installed attic fans + a thermostat to regulate HVAC in the kitchen;
  • Gutted and rebuilt the cabinets, countertop, and backsplash, while installing a new garbage disposal;
  • Replaced the kitchen flooring;
  • Repaired wall surfaces;
  • Installed a heat shield and moved a gas line to accommodate a relocation of the stove / oven; and
  • Updated / replaced twelve electrical outlets and switches.

Other areas of the Center received attention as well. Ten new bulletin boards are up. New vertical blinds grace the classrooms. A new floor makes the Center’s boys’ bathroom brighter.

The Finances. The Child Care Center makes important financial contributions to IUCC. The following financial facts are drawn from the 2019 IUCC budget, which was pending congregational approval as of mid-January.

  1. The Building Contribution (“rent”) budgeted as IUCC income from the Child Care Center for 2019 is $61,200. (Ten years ago it was $37,200.) $61,200 is 11% of IUCC’s budgeted income for 2019.
  2. The Center additionally contributes more than $35,000 each year toward Administrative Pastor and Bookkeeper salaries. This is a fair levy in exchange for direct services that Steve Swope and Heidi Wilcox provide.
  3. Even while planning and budgeting conservatively, IUCC may anticipate a somewhat larger Building Contribution when the new classroom is fully utilized.

In all, the IUCC Administrative Board approved spending about $30,000 on the kitchen makeover – the first-ever in the life of our Child Care Center; and the Board approved a little more than $50,000 to build and equip the new classroom. Given a healthy program and much demand for child care in the community, the return on investment time seems sure to be short.

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