Our Story

Eight businesses in Mercer County, ND, recognized the child care struggle their employees faced. Lead by Basin Electric, they took the initiative in 2016 to create a solution to the problem: form a new entity to own and operate a child care facility in the county.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit, Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care was incorporated to fill some of the gap in child care services in Mercer County. The New Bethel Center opened in Hazen on May 30, 2017.


All employers had parent-employees involved in start-up activities as well. Technical support was provided by North Dakota Association of Rural Electric CooperativesRural Development Finance Corporation.

In September 2016, a council member of New Bethel Congregational Church approached Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care about an opportunity to purchase their soon-to-be-vacated church building. Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care purchased the building and select contents (office furniture, appliances, etc.) at a very reasonable price. Both the church and the Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care saw this as a way to continue the church’s legacy of ministering to families, while meeting a dire need in the community. The facility is named “New Bethel” to reflect this goodwill.


Board meetings are held monthly. Board meeting dates, times, agendas, minutes, and conflict of interest policy documents are available upon request by contacting the center’s director at [email protected] or by calling the center at 701-748-3838.

Board members consist of representatives from the organizations that continue to support the operation of the center.

  • Erin Laverdure, president
    Basin Electric Power Cooperative
  • KayLa Lindemann, vice president
    Union State Bank
  • Ken Miller, secretary
    Hazen Public Schools
  • Melissa Dillman, treasurer
    Sakakawea Medical Center
  • Brooke Borlaug
    Coal Country Community Health Centers
  • Blake Kragnes
    Knife River Care Center
  • Brad Zimmerman
    Coyote Station
  • Nigel Schmitz
    Dakota Gasification Company
  • Mark Pierce
    North American Coal Corporation
  • Darrold Bertsch
    Sakakawea Medical Center/Coal Country Community Health Centers (retired)