Jefferson City Day Care Center to get $500,000 renovation

Officials say it will make it safer and create an atmosphere geared more toward learning

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Jefferson City Day Care Center is getting a $500,000 renovation with assistance from Missouri taxpayers.

Gov. Jay Nixon got a tour and announced the news at the day care. Nixon claims it's going to make the center safer and geared more toward learning.

The money is really coming from three places: $200,000 is coming from a federal grant, another $200,000 in tax credits, and $100,000 from the day care's savings.

Day care officials say they're going to need every dollar to get the building up to date and safe for children.

Day care officials are currently making plans to keep everybody busy for months. They said there's a whole laundry list of things that need to be improved in the 40-year-old building.

Nixon said making improvements is not only important for children now, but it will pay dividends for the state years down the road.

"If kids are ready to learn by kindergarten, it's a whole different outcome," Nixon said. "More and more studies show that where young folks are in third grade, where they read, where they are in math early in school really, really matters."

Jefferson City Day Care Center officials said they want to start construction before the end of the year. They believe in the end, teachers will be able to educate better and allow the 99 children to learn more effectively. But what's probably needed the most is to eliminate the safety hazards.

"When you work with children, you want to keep them in your line of sight at all times, and we have classrooms with lots or corners and we're going to get rid of as many of those as we can," Jefferson City Day Care Center executive director Donna Scheidt explained.

Nixon said when teachers don't have to worry about safety, they can focus solely on teaching.

"All of that clearly points to better long-term outcomes, and since we're in the worldwide competition economically, it's important that we have an education system that delivers strongly," Nixon said.

Nixon said he's putting an emphasis on early childhood programs. Lawmakers seem to be on board with it, too, and appropriated about $7 million more to programs than the previous year.

The governor says there will be a total of 10 day care centers around the state getting money for renovations.

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