The TLC Center child care just south of campus is just perfect for Kayla McKinley, who is able to visit her son during breaks from her accounting job at Great Falls College MSU.
McKinley and her husband, Ben, both work at Great Falls College, so she said it is a comfort to be so close to Trapper.
"Being so close to school, I don't have to leave my house earlier, which is nice," she said. "And after I did a little research into their facility, I realized it would be great because I can go have lunch with him or go read books with him if I want to."
TLC, which has had another facility in Great Falls since 1985, got the contract in 2020 to open the campus center previously operated by Bright Horizons, which was forced to close the location due to the pandemic.
TLC got rolling in fall 2020.
"It's been smooth," she said. "We moved over a lot of staff, so they're experienced."
McKinley has been impressed.
One thing that stood out for her is the app that you check your child in with that also gives her a picture of whatTrapper's day looks like.
"It's pretty cool," she said. "They log everything through the days: when they change him, when he eats, and naps. I like that. That's cool. And you can pay your bill through the app."
It has been gratifying to see the business grow said Olson, whose mother, Debra Blank, started TLC Center in 1985. Olson has owned it for four years.
Crystal Kist, the director of TLC Center, is excited for the business, and said the news also is a big win for the community.
"We had been looking for a second site for a couple years," she said. "We were loaded to the gills with students and staff (at the first location at Bethel Lutheran Church at 1009 18th Ave. S.W.) There's a real shortage of child care in the community, and this opens up more slots."
TLC is licensed to have 88 children at its site south of campus, 1900 23rd Street S., and is aiming for 80. Forty slots are reserved for children associated with Great Falls College.
Kist and Olson are proud of the quality of the program, ticking off many of the reasons you would want to send your children there, including a Level 3 Stars to Quality designation (at the Bethel location and they will be applying for it at the campus location) that is above and beyond licensure and a menu certified to be balanced and healthy by Child and Adult Care Food Program along with a full preschool curriculum.
TLC Center can be reached at 406-771-4421 or 406-453-6670 and you can go to http://www.totlotchildcare.com/ for more information.
"We are excited to be here," Kist said.
And the college is excited to have TLC Center as a partner.
"We are so pleased to have TLC operating our campus location," said Mary Kay Bonilla, chief student affairs and human resources officer. "We have been very impressed with the quality of their program and everything they offer. That the location will be so convenient for our students, faculty and staff is a huge bonus, and we love that they are an established, local business with such an outstanding reputation."