Located in downtown Eugene, Newberry Child Care at the Downtown Athletic Club provides quality care for preschoolers, ages 2 1/2 to 6 years of age. They recently expanded their program by adding a classroom and opening 13 new slots for children ages 2 ½ to 4 ½ years.
Every opening or expansion of high-quality, affordable child care in our community means more parents can enter or re-enter the workforce, more workplace attendance and productivity, and more access to quality early learning and care for children in our community.
Child Care Sector Strategist, Holly Mar-Conte, caught up with Rob Bennett, President of the DAC, to learn more about their expansion.
Mar-Conte: What prompted you to consider expanding Newberry?
Bennett: We know how much demand there is for high quality childcare in Lane County. Our central location and access to the Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) facilities has proven to be attractive to many families through the years. We’ve been hearing about more large centers closing than opening, we thought – if this is possible, and the community needs it, we have an obligation to provide additional service.
Mar-Conte: What were some of your challenges, lessons learned, successes in the process?
Bennett: The regulation surrounding child care is important, but challenging to navigate. You must have the right space, in the right location, of the right size, with the right number of bathrooms – just to name a few hurdles. We were lucky to have great people reach out to for advice and help, including Kristen Helton from Quality Care Connections and our licensor, Ginger Schaffer.
Mar-Conte: How many new slots were you able to open? For what ages?
Bennett: We serve children from 2.5 years of age up until kindergarten. With the expansion, we created 13 new spots. During the first year of operating with our larger capacity, the spots are open primarily for ages 2 ½ to 4 ½.
Mar-Conte: Do you have slots available that you’re trying to fill?
Bennett: We have received a lot of interest, particularly from one local center that unfortunately had to close. Summer is a natural transition with several students moving onto kindergarten and as a result we currently have a handful of slots open for this summer and fall.
Mar-Conte: What’s next for Newberry and the DAC?
Bennett: There is always an abundance of opportunities for families and children at the DAC. Summer Camp begins June 19. Swim lessons are ongoing. We hold Family Night and Parent’s Night Out events throughout the year. Newberry families are invited to many of our DAC events. Also, DAC Members receive a tuition discount at Newberry so a lot of the time our young families become members once they learn about the programs, opportunities and discounts available.
Congratulations to Rob and the team at the DAC and Newberry on their expansion. Our community is fortunate to have partners like them joining in with local solutions to help solve our child care crisis.
Interested in learning more about onsite or near-site child care? Contact Holly Mar-Conte at firstname.lastname@example.org.