Brooke Hill

Bear-A-Boo Daycare owner Brooke Hill calms an anxious student by bringing him a game to play.

BEN BROMLEY/News Republic

Everyone is playing nice and getting along with others at Bear-A-Boo Daycare.

The longtime Baraboo child care facility has moved to the former home of Sunshine Playhouse Childcare Center, merging two sets of students and staff.

“Honestly, I don’t think we had even a bump in the road,” Bear-A-Boo owner Brooke Hill said.

Hill started offering child care from her rural home in 1996 and moved the business to Walnut Street on the riverfront in 2005. Bear-A-Boo operated out of a former storage building, bomb switch production facility, pool hall and accounting office until Sunshine Playhouse’s owners approached Hill this spring. They were looking to retire and sell, and Hill jumped at the chance to move to Commerce Avenue on the city’s far west side. The building was designed for a child care center, and its sizable lot features multiple playgrounds.

“Now everybody can go to their own playground and be outside together,” Hill said.

The sale was finalized last month. Hill took over at the new location in April, gradually merging staffs and students. “The girls that were here are just incredible,” she said.

Bear-A-Boo’s staff of 15 serves more than 100 students in two shifts. Many parents work evenings at local health care facilities and a nearby printing plant. “It’s nice to be able to give parents the ability to work second shift,” Hill said.

Bear-A-Boo accepts children from 2 weeks old to 12 years old, using a shuttle to pick up older students after school. It also offers kindergarten programs for 4-year-olds onsite.

The day care’s former home had its charms: Effinger Brewery once used it to store barley and wheat, and Hill’s grandfather worked in the building making bomb switches when it was an offshoot of Badger Ordnance Works. Its two levels offered 9,000 square feet of space. Hill is looking to sell the building.

Bear-A-Boo’s new home is smaller at 7,000 feet, but its seven classrooms on four wings have improved operational flow. Hill plans to add a racetrack, sandbox and walking trail to the playground facilities.

“It was a good fit,” she said. “Let’s hope it keeps going smoothly.”

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