Child Start to move within Parklane Shopping Center to former Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores space

WICHITA — Child Start executive director Teresa Rupp first moved the nonprofit, which provides early childhood development services, to Parklane Shopping Center in 1985.

The group “leased 10,000 square feet and thought we had died and gone to heaven,” she says of all the space.

That didn’t last for long. The organization grew to 23,000 square feet, but still it’s not enough.

So Rupp is moving the organization again, this time to new space within Parklane, which is at Lincoln and Oliver.

Child Start is keeping a sliver of its current space but moving the rest of its administrative office to about 30,000 square feet where Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores used to be.

That store moved to the former CompUSA space at 3665 N. Rock Road.

Dennis Fitzroy, a vice president with Builders Inc., handled the new Child Start lease at Parklane. Jeff Englert of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group represented Child Start.

Rupp hadn’t planned another move.

“Twenty five years ago, I said, ‘I am never moving 30 people again.’ ”

Now, she has to move 80 of Child Start’s 250 workers, but Rupp says it’s worth it on a number of levels.

The move will allow for more training space.

“We have a lot of people who want to come to train,” Rupp says of child care providers who need certification. “We have to turn people away.”

In addition to teaching actual child care, such as safety, CPR and positive discipline, Rupp says the training also includes business management skills.

“You can kind of think you’re making money when you’re not,” she says of people running child care businesses from their homes.

The new space also will allow everything to be wired correctly throughout the office.

“Every time we add a computer we’re not going to have to go find somebody to pull wires,” Rupp says.

She likes that more employees will be able to have outside light where they work, particularly in a public area where they can meet or have lunch.

“That will do some positive things for us,” Rupp says.

“I’m real excited that people are going to have a little more elbow room and be close to the people they need to be close to,” she says. “The fact that we’re starting over . . . and the fact that it’s empty space . . . means that we get to talk about who needs to be beside whom in order to work well.”

Rupp says the Child Start board also has been looking for ways to improve its name recognition.

“That was one of our primary considerations. We need to be more visible, but we also need to be able to afford our rent.”

Now, a more visible Child Start sign will face Oliver, which Rupp says is “the other thing that’s cool.”

She likes that people already familiar with Child Start will still be able to find it, and new people will be able to easily see it as well.

So for all those reasons, Rupp says she’ll put up with another move, which should happen in October.

“It’s going to just drive me crazy, but we really need to do it.”