East Dubuque child care facility plans move, significant expansion

EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — An East Dubuque child care center plans to move to an expanded space that will more than double the number of children the facility can serve.

East Dubuque Child Care Center, which currently leases space in the former St. Mary’s School at 701 Illinois 35, will move to a newly constructed facility at 18353 U.S. 20.

Melanie Ricke, owner of East Dubuque Child Care Center, said construction already has begun on the three-story facility, which will offer approximately 13,500 square feet of space and should be open by spring of 2023.

“The (new) center will be almost twice as big,” Ricke said.

A building permit for the project issued earlier this month by the City of East Dubuque lists project costs at $1 million.

East Dubuque Child Care Center, which Ricke said has been operating in the city since 2016, currently is licensed for a capacity of 80 children from 6 weeks to 12 years old, according to Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Ricke said the new location should allow the facility to serve up to 200.

East Dubuque City Manager Loras Herrig said the city worked with Ricke to extend a city water main out to the site on which the building is being constructed to ensure the new facility can have a fire sprinkler system that meets state code. Additionally, the city will install two nearby fire hydrants to serve East Dubuque Child Care Center’s new location and other surrounding businesses.

“Obviously, (the new facility) is a win-win for the city every way you look at it, so we’re extremely happy that Melanie chose to work with us,” Herrig said.

He described child care as a service that is needed in East Dubuque. In addition to East Dubuque Child Care Center, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services lists two other licensed child care facilities currently operating in the city, with a combined capacity of 14 children.

“I think in working with our partners at Greater Dubuque Development Corp., (child care) is a need for the whole tri-state area,” Herrig said. “It’s sort of neat when East Dubuque can be part of the team and maybe provide a solution.”

City Council Member Jeff Burgmeier agreed.

“You hear it all over the place that people aren’t going back to work because … they can’t find anybody to watch their kids,” he told the Telegraph Herald. “The size of this project means it’s going to be able to handle quite a bit of young people, and I’m just very happy that they picked East Dubuque to put it up.”