On Sept. 14, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) broke ground on a $10 million Child Development Center in Little Rock set to open in 2024.
The 20,000-square-foot center will inhabit four acres at the intersection of 11th and Monroe streets, just south of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and across Interstate 630 from the UAMS campus.
The center will provide services for about 200 children of UAMS employees and students from infancy through prekindergarten. Of the spaces available, 10% will be reserved for the children of employees who live in the surrounding community; another 10% will be reserved for children of workers or students who qualify for Child Care and Development Fund vouchers through the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
“For the children and their families — who will include UAMS front-line clinicians, health professions educators, researchers and our staff — we will provide a safe, welcoming facility where their children can learn, thrive and have fun,” said Stephanie Gardner, Ed.D., Pharm.D., UAMS provost and chief strategy officer.
The center will include rooms for infant care, toddlers and preschool, as well as indoor and outdoor play and activity areas. UAMS will contract with Bright Horizons – the nation’s largest provider of employee-sponsored child care – to manage the center and offer a curriculum that covers subjects including language and literacy, creative arts, math operations and reasoning, science and technology and health and wellness.
The center will create about 40 jobs for teachers, teacher assistants and other staff members, all with competitive salaries and benefits. The project also meets UAMS’ strategic goals of offering programs that increase opportunities for success and improve the work-life balance of employees.
UAMS worked with the city of Little Rock to acquire the land for the Child Development Center. Other community partners include Southern Bancorp, U.S. Bank, the Central Arkansas Library System and the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.
“We were proud partners with UAMS in locating this much-needed center in the 12th Street corridor,” said Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. “The Child Development Center will be an anchor of the neighborhood while at the same time serving as an exceptional and positive learning environment that benefits children in the heart of our city.
“The city of Little Rock was delighted to do its part in the work leading to today’s groundbreaking on an important project that serves as a significant example of the positive effects of targeted community development,” Scott said.
The project will be financed through the federal New Markets Tax Credit program, with additional money coming from gifts from UAMS employees and supporters.
The project team consists of Fennell Purifoy Architects and C.R. Crawford Construction.
Other notable figures at the groundbreaking included C.C. “Cliff” Gibson III, chairman of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees; Jeannette “Jan” Shorey, professor emerita in the UAMS College of Medicine; state Rep. Tippi McCullough; Jay Chesshir, president and CEO of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce; Tom Fennell of Fennell Purifoy Architects; Phil Purifoy of Fennell Purifoy Architects; Justin Reeves, project superintendent of C.R. Crawford Construction; Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp; Mike Richardson, Missouri and Arkansas branch banking market leader at U.S. Bank; Nate Coulter, executive director of the Central Arkansas Library System; and Shya Washington-Webb, branch manager for the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university and the only adult Level one trauma center in the state.
More information about UAMS is available online.
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