MARQUETTE — An empty building in Marquette will be put to good use in the near future, and parents in Marquette and surrounding areas may just be in luck.

The old school building has sat vacant for three years, but now, a team is in the works of getting it up and running as a daycare.

"A year ago, my kids told me the building should be used as a daycare, which is a big demand, and said we should look into it. A friend of mine and I started looking into it to find out more and we've been working it out a little at a time," said Ron Larson, board member of the daycare.

The main goal of the team is to offer quality childcare in town and make things easier for parents in Marquette and surrounding areas.

"A lot of feedback I've gotten is parents would really like to keep their kids here instead of traveling — loading them up and having to travel so far with them to their job," said Chelsea Graber, director of the project.

The team is hoping to have the building finished by spring of 2018, or early summer.

"There's 120 kids that leave here everyday that go to different schools. Before and after school and summer is going to be a big part of this too," Larson said.

Although the building is already in existence, it's taken a little elbow grease to get everything in the works.

Larson explained that the team has had to apply first for a 501(c)3 so the daycare will be a non-profit.

"We went to the city council, who owns the building to ask them if they would supply the building and some of the utilities since they're paying for the building now because it sits empty. We had to get an architect to look the building over and give us a design so everything meets code and rooms are the right size," Larson explained.

Other members of the community who have in-home daycares are also lending a hand on this project. Along with applying for a 501(c)3, Graber has done endless amounts of research and has constructed a business plan and a budget to stay on track. The group is also applying for grants with help from the McPherson Community Foundation.

The plan is to serve 58 children and be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the parents convenience.

"Once we're more established, then we'll be seeking out staff who either has experience or willing to be trained and to go through some training to be qualified to work," Graber said.

Larson said in the future they could add more services in the location.

"We could still in the same building have enough room to create more than just a daycare to try to make it a learning center," Larson said.

For more information, contact Chelsea Graber at 620-200-8951 or email her at

Contact Brooke Haas by email at or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.