It was a beautiful morning on July 26, as Funshine Early Learning Centre celebrated their grand opening.
After eight years of planning, fundraising, applying for grants, working with governments and waiting, there was an air of triumph as community members and donors to the project came together to witness the ribbon-cutting.
Eight years ago, when Fort La Bosse School Division (FLBSD) was approached for land, they welcomed the new facility onto the existing empty space of Virden Junior High grounds at 447 Princess St. West.
“The wait was worth it” – Shelby Rampton
Shelby Rampton, past Funshine board chair and co-chair (with Jillian Irvine) of the expansion project, said in her address to the crowd, “Words cannot express how excited and grateful we are to be finally hosting this grand opening. When we started this project eight years ago, our time-line was two to three years.”
They were wrong by about six years, but viewing the finished facility Rampton said, “The wait was worth it.”
Irvine called this a “monumental day”, saying, “It has been nothing short of a roller coaster to get here today with many ups and downs, some yeses lots of nos. So many times it would have been easier to quit but the vision of what this project could be for the community kept us moving forward.”
Many organizations and businesses were thanked as contributors to make the dream a reality.
Irvine said it was early-on commitments from FLBSD, the Town of Virden, Virden Area Foundation and the Virden Lions Club that helped the project go forward and become eligible for other donations and government funding.
The daycare facility had a soft opening this summer, starting up with a few children.
Now, Director Melony Frank has put together her staff of 14, plus casual staff and all 66 spaces are filled with children enrolled for the start of September.
People got to tour the new building. With large windows, child-sized amenities, lofts, play tables and features so obviously attractive to children, visitors that morning found it an inspirational facility.
A new member of the staff expressed excitement about her position at Funshine II. “I’m so excited to get started,” said Early Childhood Educator Level II Jacquie Lane. “Part of the draw, for me, is that it would be a space that I could come in to and create with the kids.” She comes with the experience of being the director and lead teacher of Brandon University’s junior kindergarten.