The Dugald Child-Care Centre officially opened its doors to strengthen the province's early childhood education and care sector with 74 new spaces.

Yesterday, in a news release, the Manitoba Government announced that the newly built and funded child care spaces are open after providing more than $450,000 in an annual operating grant and an additional $33,000 to be used towards costs for opening the new spaces.

"Our government is committed to ensuring all Manitoba families have access to high-quality, affordable, flexible and inclusive early learning and child-care services, regardless of where in the province they live," says Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister, Wayne Ewasko. "I commend the dedicated staff on their hard work since this incredible facility first opened in September 2019, as they celebrate its grand opening now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted."

Twenty of the new spaces are for infants and 54 for preschool-aged children. It is a 6,190 sq. ft., stand-alone facility next to the school and includes six child-care classrooms, a kitchen, staff room, utility room, storage room and office. A natural, interactive outdoor space for play is set to be included in the future.

"Our organization provides care for 125 children who reside in the Rural Municipality of Springfield. Dugald Daycare Inc. is very proud of all our hard work involved with our original location that holds 51 spaces and now the addition of our second location," says Leola Paul, Director of Dugald Daycare Inc. "The addition of our new location has helped so many more families in our community and we have also provided more job opportunities for our rural area. Opening before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly put our skills and dedication to the test for our staff and board of directors. We hope we can continue to provide care for children and support our staff with the continued assistance of government."

The statement acknowledges that the new centre was provided in part of the larger $10-million project for the construction of new additions and other renovations at École Dugald in the Sunrise School Division.