Spearfish Rec Center continues offering childcare services to essential local employees
SPEARFISH, SD (May 5, 2020) – While some may wonder why the Spearfish Rec Center has not re-opened to patrons as other gyms have done recently, the answer is that the facility continues to offer a vital service to essential employees in local health care, education, and government: Care for their children while they are at work.
“We know people are missing their visits to the rec center for their favorite fitness classes, gym time, and other programming, and we miss seeing them, too,” Spearfish Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Ehnes said. “However, South Dakota has not yet hit the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and right now, the rec center is serving an incredibly important purpose by providing childcare services to essential employees of Monument Health, multiple assisted living facilities in town, the Spearfish School District, BHSU, Lawrence County, and the City.”
The Spearfish Rec Center has been providing childcare services to these employees staffing the local health care facilities and critical school and municipal infrastructure since March 16. Nearly 40 children are currently registered for the service, with an average of 20 children per day – including several infants – on-site at the rec center.
Ehnes explained that all rec center staff, plus three additional City employees who normally work at Grace Balloch Memorial Library, are being utilized to provide the childcare services. These services are offered from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“The rec center will remain closed until the need for this vital service shifts/diminishes,” Ehnes said, adding that although no official date has been set, childcare services will be available through the month of May.
To keep the children active and engaged during their time at the rec center, various spaces within the facility are being utilized in ways they have never been before. For example, the cardio room is functioning as a schoolroom, complete with computers, with rec center employees assisting school-aged children with their school packets during this era of distance learning/remote school. The Lookout Room is being used as a free play area; the Group Fitness room is functioning as a nap room/nursery; and the Party Room is acting as the cafeteria, where children eat their meals. Activities for children during the day include fitness classes, free play, games and crafts, movies, naptime, and more.
City staff are brainstorming creative ways to connect with members and the community during the pandemic. They are also exploring ways to try to open parts of the facility to rec users while still maintaining childcare services on-site. Staff will keep the public apprised when any changes occur.
During the closure, rec center members have options regarding their memberships:
First, all recurring membership payments are suspended until the facility reopens. March payments will cover the first month after the facility opens.
Second, all paid-in-full memberships will have their expiration date extended to compensate for the time closed.
Third, members may request a pro-rata refund.
Rec center employees continue to connect with members and the community to promote a healthy and active lifestyle, with everyone encouraged to check out the “Quarantine Routine” home workout videos posted on the rec center’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Follow the latest updates on the rec center’s Facebook page and website, and get updates about all City facilities, information about community resources, and more, at https://www.cityofspearfish.com/723/COVID-19.