Carrie Rengers

Value Center replacement will bring a new kind of value downtown, owner says

The Value Center may be gone from downtown, but the future tenants for the space at the northwest corner of Douglas and St. Francis think their business is going to bring a lot of value, too.

Misti and Darrick Stephen are opening another Scribbles and Giggles Children’s Academy there.

“We like the potential that it has,” Misti Stephen says of the building.

The couple started their business in 2010 and have five of the day cares open now, including three in Wichita and one each in Derby and Goddard.

Misti Stephen says downtown was always something she and her husband knew they wanted because of a lack of day care services in the area.

“Downtown was at the top of the list.”

They’re also opening a new day care in Rockford Square at 1855 S. Rock Road.

“We want to kind of spread out over different areas of Wichita,” Stephen says.

Each of the new sites will be able to accommodate almost 100 children.

The Rockford day care will open first, probably in March.

The downtown day care will open in April or May.

“We had to go through a lot more red tape with downtown,” Stephen says.

She says it took longer to get ready to renovate, too.

“The inside will be completely remodeled,” Stephen says.

The hallways will have wood floors, and the classrooms will have carpet for “a very homelike feel,” she says.

There also will be a large fish aquarium like all the Scribbles and Giggles centers have.

“That kind of helps kids feel more at home,” Stephen says.

The Stephens will demolish the one-story area at the north end of the building for a playground with an 8-foot concrete wall for security.

“It’s going to be a very secure location,” Stephen says.

There also will be cameras, as there are at all Scribbles and Giggles centers.

Stephen and her husband are replacing all of the building’s glass, which wraps around two sides of it, with shatterproof glass.

“It’s going to be gorgeous,” she says of the building.

Stephen says they’re still thinking of more sites for more centers, such as in Andover.

“That’s our next step.”

That won’t happen until Rockford and the downtown center open.

Timsah Group — the new owner of the former Value Center building — president Diana Farha says the company is happy to have Scribbles and Giggles move downtown and especially to the company’s building.

“We’re thrilled to have them have it,” Farha says. “I think it’s going to do really well there.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers