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New daycare, familiar location

Robin Siebenaler and Ryan McGraw have teamed up to open the Hastings Child Development Center at the building formerly occupied by Cooper Elementary School at 210 W. 17th Street.

If ever there was someone destined to open a child care facility at the old Cooper Elementary School in Hastings, it would be Robin Siebenaler.

She grew up in Hastings and watched as her mother, Faith Siebenaler, operated a daycare out of her home.

And as a kindergartener, she attended Cooper.

Robin Siebenaler attended college, studied child development and child care at Dakota County Technical College (as well as psychology at Metro State) and then opened her own in-home daycare in Hastings.

"I just love kids," Siebenaler said. "I love watching them grow. They're so unique."

Soon, her home daycare filled up.

By September 2005, she had opened Robin's Nest Daycare on Pleasant Drive in Hastings. Now that is full. So, Siebenaler and her fiancé, Ryan McGraw, were wrestling with expansion plans for Robin's Nest.

And that's when they got a great opportunity. They purchased Stepping Stones from Tonia Pryor and on Monday, opened as the Hastings Child Development Center at the former Cooper school.

For McGraw, daycare is nothing new. His mother, Mary McGraw, operated one out of her home, too. Most days, he's an excavator, but he has been busy the last three weeks working to finalize the details of the purchase and working to get the new space ready to go.

They are co-owners of the center and were eager to step in and keep the daycare running.

"It was sad to see these families, who would have no daycare," Siebenaler said. "We didn't want to see the kids uprooted and removed from their friends."

Some of the same staff members have stayed on for the change, so the children still see familiar teachers and their friends.

The Hastings Child Development Center is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. They are enrolling students ages six weeks to 12 years. The center has its own buses and provides before school and after school care.

The building features a full-size gym, two playgrounds, an art room and a computer lab.

For more information, call 438-9119.