History of The Children's Center in Albert Lea

Snack TimeAn idea sparked over four decades ago, is now a successful and very unique reality for nearly 400 children in our community every year.

In the fall of 1969, a dream was realized when The Albert Lea Community Child Care Center, Inc. opened its doors. A concerned group of citizens noted the need for child care. In a response to a survey, conducted at the Skyline Mall in February 1969, 62% interviewed stated they would use a child care center. The community based Board of Directors then founded the Center. The Children's Center opened its doors at Christ Episcopal Church on September 2, 1969. At that time, the Center served three to five year olds at a cost of only $4.00 for a full day of care!

Four years later, the Center moved to Grace Lutheran Church. The following year, the Center relocated to a former Albert Lea elementary school, Oakwood. At that time in 1974, the cost for a full day of care was $5.50. In the early 1980's, the Center eventually expanded its services to include before school and Kindergarten care. The Kindergarten Satellite at the First Presbyterian Church opened in 1985.

In 1990, The Children's Center had the opportunity to be a part of the St. John's Lutheran Home.

We moved into their newly remodeled facility to be part of an intergenerational program. This was a very new concept for its time. The children continue to interact with the seniors on a regular basis.

When news of the school district renovation project was received in 1991, the Center had to once again look for a new location. By working with city and community officials, plans to build an 8,000 square foot facility were unveiled. The hard work and gracious efforts of many played a role in the huge task of raising $600,000 for the new center. The community showed overwhelming support. The Center purchased some recently renovated city property for $1.00 in July 1991 and began construction shortly thereafter. On December 21, 1991, volunteers and staff moved the Center to its new home without any interruption of service to families.

Again, countless hours of fundraising and dedication by staff, volunteers and community members made the difference.

On October 1st, 1996, an official mortgage burning ceremony confirmed the needs and dreams of the Center.

The new millennium brought The Children's Center more expansion and growth.

By September of 2000, we were moving our School Age program from the First Presbyterian Church, to a brand new 40 X 60 foot addition at the Main site. Due to changes in our community, we can now accommodate the fluctuating attendance of our school age children.

Dedicated staff, Board members and volunteers are responsible for the Center's on-going viability. Children are the reason.