GREAT FALLS — The Great Falls Development Authority is conducting a childcare feasibility study which includes a survey for the public. Specifically, the GFDA is trying to determine the need for a new childcare facility in Great falls.
"We commissioned a market assessment for the demand for more childcare services in the Great Falls commute shed,” said Brett Doney, GFDA CEO.
Doney said addressing childcare needs in Great Falls is critically important as the area rebounds amid the pandemic.
"As we've been dealing with the pandemic, trying to get people back to work, childcare as well as housing are two of the areas that are of particular concern,” said Doney.
He hopes the results of the online survey that is part of the study will be a big help: "We'd like to get at least 500 responses from parents in the region or guardians about their childcare needs because it adds depth and richness to the number crunching that's already been done."
Raegen Breeden, the owner of Play 'n Learn Academy in Great Falls, said, "With everybody returning back to work (and) school starting back up here in a month or so, the phone calls that we're getting and the volume of phone calls that we're getting has increased probably more so than in the 25 years that I've been here."
She has been part of the discussions surrounding the study and agrees another childcare facility would be a good idea.
"It would be nice to see something maybe east end and then far west. That way we can accommodate, maybe, both sides of Great Falls, especially crossing the bridge into that Fox Farm area as far as traffic goes,” Breeden said.
As for a timeline, that was still unclear Wednesday. When and where a new facility might be built or whether existing services will be expanded instead is a discussion that will have to be had once the study wraps up in about a month.