WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A $3 million, state-of-the art childcare and development center is planned for downtown Winston-Salem.
On Wednesday afternoon, Twin City-based Northwest Child Centers,Inc. will break ground for Mudpies Downtown East, its second downtown child development center, at the corner of 7th and Patterson Avenues.
The property sits across the street from Goler Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, which owned much of the land. Leaders there collaborated with the City to ensure space for Mudpies.
The center is expected to open in Fall 2013, service up to 250 children, infants to 12-years-old, and employ dozens of new teachers and staff members.
NWCDC CEO, Dr. Tony Burton, said the project is several years in the making, and a direct response to the residential and business growth downtown Winston-Salem has experienced over the past decade, particularly with the surrounding Piedmont Triad Research Park.
In 2009, downtown associations estimated 2,250 people lived in the area, and researchers predicted up to 12,000 residents would live downtown in the coming years. Burton believes the center will be key in retaining downtown residents.
"If you don't have the advantages and things you need in the area, once you start having children, and things of that nature, you have a tendency to move back out into the suburbs," he said.
The new Mudpies facility could also be key in helping area employers recruit attractive job candidates.
"We're hoping that we can provide for those companies, places where their employees' children can come that's close and convenient to where they're working, and also provide them with better advantages so they can be better prepared for school."
NWCDC secured a $2 million donation for the project and received major donations from Hatch, Inc., the Kate B. Reynold Trust Foundation, and Kaplan among other community partners.
"Hatch came to the table and said 'We're interested in helping you with the technology. We're gonna make your center the most technology-enriched childcare center in the country,'" said Burton.
With a technology-rich facility, Burton is hoping to attract nearby college students and graduates to hire for staff and faculty positions.
He said they'll be helping area children get ahead of the learning curve, honing the early educational tools necessary to decrease drop-out rates.
"If we can get those children to test better at second and third grade, then we know they're going to be successful,and that's what we're trying to do with our organization."
Applications for staff members are being accepted now. For more information on employment and pre-enrollment, visit www.nwcdc.org.