Child Care Associates is moving forward with construction of a new child care center in the Las Vegas Trail area next to the Rise Community Center — one of seven early childhood education facilities underway in Tarrant County.
The incoming modular facility at 8201 Calmont Ave., to be named Child Care Studio at LVT, is on track to open in August 2024, according to Kara Waddell, president and CEO of Child Care Associates, one of the largest child development programs in North Texas. A contract between the city of Fort Worth and Child Care Associates was approved on Tuesday by the City Council without discussion. Councilmember Michael Crain recused himself due to his wife’s employment with the organization while noting he was “very excited” about the project.
Although the 12,788-square-foot facility with eight classrooms will have the capacity to serve 150 children, it will serve a smaller number to keep teacher to student ratios lower as a “research-backed aspect of quality for child care,” Waddell said.
The city received $2.75 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to be used toward construction and preconstruction costs, city documents show. Child Care Associates in May 2022 was approved to lease the city property.
The facility is one of seven in the pipeline in Tarrant County and Fort Worth that will provide the capacity for more than 1,000 children overall across 55 classrooms, which includes Head Start and Early Head Start programs for low-income families, Waddell said. Child Care Associates plans to open all the facilities by the end of 2025.
The other locations include:
Stop Six Hub, 5100 block of Avenue G, Fort Worth
Gwendolyn C. Gragg Child Development Center, 2400 E. First St., Fort Worth
City of Arlington facility (still under negotiations), 2001 New York Ave.
Tarrant County College south campus, 5301 Campus Drive, Fort Worth
Tarrant County College northwest campus, 4801 Marine Creek Parkway, Fort Worth
“Estimates for exact offerings will depend on individual community need. Each site has infant, toddler and preschooler classrooms and will include a mix of child care, Head Start, (Early Head Start), and Pre-K,” Waddell said.
The capacity and classroom numbers also include the Fort Worth Independent School District’s $6.8-million child care center at its Morningside Elementary. The facility is scheduled to open next school year, focusing on infants and toddlers up to age 3. It remains to be seen whether the district will partner with an outside agency, such as Child Care Associates, to operate the facility.
The facility is one of four in the Fort Worth ISD that is being funded through a voter-approved bond, which allocated $13.8 million for early childhood learning spaces.
The various facilities come forward amid a time when the child care sector is facing financial obstacles from the loss of federal COVID-19 relief funding that expired on Sept. 30. The $24 billion in American Rescue Plan Act stabilization funds were the largest federal investment in child care in U.S. history, according to the Century Foundation. The Texas Workforce Commission had provided an additional $1 billion in funding toward child care statewide, which expires on Thursday.