MISSOULA — The Missoula Family YMCA celebrated the start of construction on a new, 6,600-foot building to support early childcare and learning on Thursday, June 1, 2023.
Supporters gathered on the YMCA campus to break ground for the construction of the Phyllis Washington Early Child Care Center.
The Center will expand existing early child care programs, as well as add new ones.
The extra space will allow the YMCA to double the number of children aged 0-5 that can be served in early childcare services.
Among the additions to the early child care center include a family meeting and therapy room, a large kitchen, a breastfeeding room for working mothers, and hands-on learning spaces.
One of those learning spaces, according to Missoula YMCA CEO, Heather Foster, will offer kids safe access to video games in a partnership with the eSports team at the University of Montana.
The construction will begin in June of 2023 and is expected to finish in the fall of 2024.
Foster says only the pool will have reduced access during construction, but all other YMCA programs will continue as usual.
The $4 million building is one step towards the larger $19.3 million Here for Good Campaign, which looks to improve and expand all aspects of the Missoula YMCA.
Foster says they are looking for $5 million to complete the funding for the campaign.
Once the funds are collected, the YMCA will begin construction on other community amenities, including an all-abilities playground and a multi-court outdoor gymnasium.
The childcare building would not have been possible without the many volunteers and community members who have already donated to the campaign, according to Foster.
They will continue to rely on community support throughout the final stages of the campaign.
“I am feeling so much gratitude today, it has been a humbling experience," Foster said. "The Missoula community is one of the most generous communities I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of. The number of donations and people that have made meaningful contributions — it is overwhelming.”
In the spirit of philanthropy, the new building is named after philanthropist and long-time supporter of the YMCA, Phyllis Washington.