In 2012, as the population of young families in Elkhorn continued to grow at a record-setting pace, Lord of Life Lutheran Church initiated the steps of establishing a Child Care ministry. A feasibility study was conducted by researching demographics, costs, and consulting with other child care ministries. The congregation voted to proceed with the project and seek architect and general contractor bids.
BVH’s design for a 2-story education and office wing was selected, and Lueder Construction was chosen as the General Contractor. The initial projected cost was $1.8 million. With an annual church operating budget of $355,000, this building project was quite a leap of faith. Working with the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), a consultant guided the formation of a 12-member leadership team to manage the many facets of conducting the Capital Campaign.
With a vision to meet the needs of families by providing the very best Christian child care, the Connect Campaign: Connecting the Community through Christ was founded on Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to Him who is able to do immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!
Several informational and social events were held to explain the three-year campaign to church members, leading up to Pledge Sunday on June 1, 2014. A total of $812,481 was pledged by 92 families. With some concessions made to the building plans, LCEF agreed to loan the church $1 million in a 25-year mortgage, which matures in 2043.
Groundbreaking was held May 1, 2016, with construction completed in the spring of 2017. Dedication of the new education wing was held on Sunday, February 12, 2017. Congregation members were involved in the construction phase by running cabling for the security cameras and network. A ‘construction party’ brought together over 25 volunteers who assembled the cribs, tables, shelves, cubbies, and play kitchens to prepare the classrooms for opening day.
State licensing for 64 children was granted February 28, 2017, which became the center’s official opening date was. However, a snowstorm caused a day’s delay, making the actual open date March 1, 2017. Initial enrollment was 3 children, and by our 1 year anniversary, 55 children were enrolled, with more on waiting lists. This is quite the accomplishment for a brand-new center.
A Child Care Board was formed in 2016, and Mrs. Denise Kempnich was hired as the center’s director. She was tasked with the major administrative tasks involved with starting a new child care center, including hiring staff, ordering supplies, and compiling the Employee and Parent Handbooks.
In 2017, the church initiated a special fundraising effort to raise funds for a state-approved playground. Crouch Recreation was selected as the contractor for the equipment and installation. The church’s Board of Properties constructed the fencing for the older and the younger play areas. The playground was installed at a cost of $24,864 in September of 2017 with a temporary mulch surfacing donated by Enfield’s Tree Service and Heritage Nursery. A second fundraiser was designated in January of 2018 for the $32,000 needed for permanent surfacing, and the goal was quickly met through generous congregation members. The crew returned to remove the mulch, build concrete boundaries, and install the rubber squares that provide a safe surface for the children to play. The Playground Project was completed August 29, 2018. In 2023, artificial turf was added to the Toddlers’ and Babies’ fenced play areas as a result of state DHHS grant funds.
God has continued to bless the center with steady growth. Most classrooms have waiting lists for parents desiring to enroll their children in Lord’s Lambs.
Liz Croson, 2022 – Present
Beth Reitano, 2022
Jewel McKercher, 2021-2022
Denise Kempnich, 2016-2021