WILLISTON, N.D. (KXNET) — In an effort to combat the childcare shortage, a new program is opening up in the western part of the state.

The Williston City Commission approved up to $130,000 from the Williston Star Fund to purchase playground equipment for a new daycare.

The daycare will be located in the Crighton Building at Williston State College, with renovations currently underway. In addition to helping provide for the children of the area, it will serve as a sort of training ground for students going into the early childhood and elementary fields. The owner of Happy Families Daycare has been selected to be in charge of the operation.

“Just being able to do it and accomplish so many things, it’s a real partnership between the city and the county and the college,” said Regional State Director for the Williston State College Small Business Development Center Office, Keith Olson. “One, that’s a huge, great step in that direction, but it’s also great because we’re able to enhance or add a program, and add some things to it so it makes it much more doable and exciting for somebody that might want to go into Elementary Ed — to be able to stay right here and do it.”

The daycare is expected to open in the fall of 2023.