The Learning Lamp in Northern Cambria

A photo is shown of The Learning Lamp that was converted into a child care facility in Northern Cambria.

Months of work is coming to an end for a child care facility in Northern Cambria being reopened by The Learning Lamp.

After closing earlier this year, the former Coal Country Daycare, at 1102 Maple Ave., has been converted into The Learning Lamp Center for Children at Northern Cambria with help from an economic development grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

Karen Machak, Learning Lamp child care program manager, said there’s “a need for child care” in the area which is why the organization accepted the request to reopen the facility from Coal Country Hangout teen center.

“Child care is very important so parents can get back to work, especially in rural areas,” Machak said.

The reopened center will be below the hangout and leased from Coal Country.

A release from The Learning Lamp references U.S. Census Bureau data that lists 273 children that are five years of age and younger in Northern Cambria Borough and “only a handful” of centers to accommodate them.

Using the grant money, the group has been able to finish several improvements to get the facility up and running.

New paint, flooring, an upgraded fire safety system and plumbing and electrical work were completed as well as the purchase of other necessary supplies.

The Learning Lamp received enough to get the center off the ground, Machak said, and tuition will help sustain the center after it opens at the end of July.

For now, 50 children will be able to be cared for at the facility, though its licensed to accomodate up to 70.

Machak said there are five staff members on hand for the renovated center and the organization is looking to hire more.

Once operational, the facility will deal with infants and children up to 5 years old.

In the fall, it will provide before and after school care for Northern Cambria Elementary.

Normal hours of operation will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

To celebrate this endeavor, there will be an open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the location.

If any families are interested in enrolling their children, they can contact Machak by calling 814-262-0732, ext. 301, or by visiting www.thelearninglamp.org

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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