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Isaac Sherrill, Maya Hazuga, Kateri Hazelton, Taya Evenson and Ayla Wundrow, who attend First Lutheran's childcare center in La Crescent, inside the new Early Steps Learning Center, which is being constructed next to the church and will greatly expand its childcare facilities.

Construction workers are putting the finishing touches on the roughly $750,000 First Steps Early Learning Center, which is being built by First Lutheran in La Crescent.

The building is located next to First Lutheran’s church at 414 Main St. and will be inspected next week, said the church’s preschool director Alyssa Schwartz. The child care center is expected to open June 4.

At the moment, First Lutheran can only accept preschool aged children at its existing childcare center in the church and has 22 children enrolled.

The new center will allow the church to take children as young as six weeks old, Schwartz said, and is expected to be licensed to take 62 children.

The church is licensed to care for 30 children in its existing childcare center which will bring the total number of childcare places available when the new center opens to 92. The increased capacity will see the number of childcare staff at the center increase from four to 11, Schwartz said.

First Lutheran Pastor Chris Christenson said the construction project is nearing the finishing line without having encountered any major bumps in the road. Construction began last October.

“The Lord has blessed us with just so many benevolent people on this project,” Christenson said.

Contractors have donated labor to the project while members of the church’s congregation have also helped out in various ways. The center will answer a need for childcare in La Crescent, which Scwhartz said could be seen in the strong demand for places First Steps Early Learning Center is already experiencing.

An open house for the new childcare center, located next to First Lutheran’s church at 414 Main Street, is planned for Sunday, June 3, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Food will be served and there will be a special dedication service for the new facility.

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