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Kwik Trip plans to turn La Crosse building into childcare center for employees

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Kwik Trip plans to build a childcare center for employees in La Crosse

Kwik Trip is proposing to turn the former La Crosse Wellness Center building into a childcare center for its employees. The wellness center closed in 2020 due to the pandemic and Kwik Trip purchased the building last fall.

Kwik Trip presented plans to open a childcare center for its employees to a city of La Crosse committee on Friday.

The La Crosse-based convenience store and gas station chain is proposing to convert the former La Crosse Wellness Center building at 2839 Darling Court, just off of Highway 16, into a “Kwik Trip Kids Learning Center.”

“We’ve got an opportunity to try to do some things to try and improve daycare opportunities for our coworkers,” Brian Novy with Kwik Trip told the city’s Commercial and Multi-Family Design Review Committee Friday morning.

Novy said, “It’s obviously something that’s a challenge for a lot of different people right now, and so this is something that we think will really help our coworkers, which in-turn should help the community as well in taking care of some of those daycare challenges that everybody’s experiencing right now.”

A spokesperson for Kwik Trip declined to provide a comment to the Tribune on the project earlier in the week and was unable to be reached on Friday.

According to the plans presented by Vantage Architects, the childcare center would be able to accommodate about 168 kids with about 40 staff members on site.

The existing building would not see a ton of transformation, and inside 12 classrooms would be created between the first and second floors. An art room, library, kid’s kitchen and outdoor playground would also be part of the plan.

A new entrance will be built at the front of the building, and the drive-thru previously used by a coffee shop in the building will be eliminated.

The biggest change to the building’s exterior, architects said, will be in creating the playground, which will be divided into four areas for different ages and include a security fence.

One segment on the south side of the building will remain “as is” to be used for possible expansion down the road, architects said.

Kwik Trip purchased the building last fall for $2.6 million, and at the time declined to confirm whether it would be used as the company’s anticipated childcare center.

The La Crosse Wellness Center closed in September 2020 due to the pandemic.

City staff gave feedback on the preliminary designs of the building on Friday and Kwik Trip will revise its plans based on those.

A timeline and total cost of the project is still unclear.

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