The $4.3 million YMCA Youth Development Center is on track to open Aug. 1, nearly doubling the capacity for the Y's after school and day care programs.
Contractors are putting the finishing touches on the facility, said Steve Graf, Aberdeen Family YMCA executive director.
"This is going to be a great facility for the community," he said. "All the studies we have done have indicated the need for more safe, secure child care in Aberdeen. There has never been a full-service child care facility specifically designed for infants to fifth graders in Aberdeen. This facility incorporates a lot of features from the best child care centers we have been able to visit or study."
The 25,000-square-foot facility is on South State Street west of the main YMCA building. It will be licensed to care for 350 children. The center will be able to care for up to 190 infants to four-year-olds and up to 160 children from kindergarten to fifth grade.
The building has about 12 large classrooms with most of them adjacent to rooms equipped with a washer, dryer, dishwasher and kitchenette. Bathrooms are adjacent to the classrooms.
Each room is named after a character or scene in the "Wizard of Oz." For example, the room for infants from birth to nine months is called the Lullaby League. The room for children age 9 months to 18 months is the Flower Patch. The hallway is a yellow brick road.
There is a indoor playground, gymnasium and large activities area called the Uproar. Meals and snacks will be prepared in a commercial kitchen.
The YMCA has been operating its Learning Tree Program for infants to 4-year-olds in a building on South Washington Street. That lease expires the end of July. The After the Bell program for school-aged children has been at 320 S. Main St. The staff and children at both facilities will move to the new center on Aug. 1.
Graf said the new center has already added a few staff members and eventually will add more. Total staff will increase by the equivalent of 14 full-time positions, he said.
There are several security features. Entrance to the building is allowed only by using a fingerprint scanner outside the main doors. There are video cameras in every room.
"Security is a big deal these days," Graf said. "Parents want to know that their child is safe and secure. We feel we have a great system in place."
Graf said the proximity of the Youth Development Center to the Y is a big plus. The children will be able to use the Y swimming pool and other facilities. "It will be great for programing, not just for things like swimming lessons, but also for cooking, photography or other activities," he said.
The Youth Development Center received a $545,000 Community Development Block Grant as part of its funding package. Many individuals, organizations and businesses have donated to the fund. Robert and Erin Fouberg have headed the fundraising efforts. There is still about $400,000 yet to be raised, Graf said.
The building was designed by HKG architects. JDH Construction served as the general contractor.
The center is not only a great thing for children, but it is also an important economic development tool, Graf said.
"I think it will have the same impact to the community as the new Y had," Graf said. "The goal then was to attract and retain young families. This will have the same impact."
The Youth Development Center is enrolling children now. To enroll a child or for more information, call 605-225-7113.
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