After more than four years of planning and preparation, Northwest Child Development Centers broke ground on its newest facility, Mudpies Downtown East, on Dec. 12.
The $3.4 million state-of-the-art facility will sit at the corner of Seventh Street and Patterson Avenue in the historic Goler Depot community, which was once the center of black commerce in Winston-Salem.
I think this is going to be great for our area, for our children and for society as a whole.
Founded in 1970, Northwest Child Development Centers is a nonprofit organization responsible for the development and care of hundreds of infants and children in Forsyth, Davie and Stokes counties. Mudpies Downtown East will be its sixth and largest facility to date. Mudpies facilities, which primarily serve children ages six weeks to five years, are highly sought after. Known for their near-perfect star ratings, highly qualified staff and utilization of state of the art technology, Mudpies facilities typically have a waiting list for enrollment.
“We’ve honed our intellectual capital over the past 42 years of existence,” said Dr. Charlie Shaw, the agency’s chief volunteer officer. “…Mudpies are not just babysitting centers. We are learning centers that foster intellectual curiosity.”
The new facility will be an asset to the ever-growing residential population, as well as the thousands who come to the city’s center to work, said Dr. Tony Burton III, chief executive officer of Northwest Child Development.
“This was in an area where we knew growth was happening,” Burton said. “I think this is going to be great for our area, for our children and for society as a whole.”
Mayor Allen Joines, who presented a proclamation in honor of the occasion, praised the NWCDC leaders for choosing such a strategic location to erect the 16,000 square-foot center.
“It’s so important,” he said of the project. “We’re right here at the juxtaposition of Piedmont Triad Research Park… The work that Tony’s doing here at Mudpies helps to prepare these young people for those jobs in the future, and that’s why I’m so pleased to be here.”
Dr. Eric Tomlinson, president of the Piedmont Triad Research Park, said he believes the new center will greatly benefit the Research Park’s burgeoning workforce.
“This is a wonderful venture,” declared Tomlinson, who lives nearby in the Gallery Lofts. “The Research Park is the fastest growing urban-based research park for innovation in the US. By the end of 2014, there’ll be about 3000 folks working in the Research Park … they are folks who will desperately need child development (centers).”
Michael Suggs, executive director of the Goler CDC, said the agency plans to construct some multi-family housing units on the vacant two acre tract adjacent to the new Mudpies location. Suggs said he believes the facility will be an important driver for the growth of Goler projects and all development efforts in the vicinity.
“We think this adds a great mix as far as the things that we want to have in our community. One of the key things people are looking for is a full service community, and we think having a childcare facility makes this area even more attractive, especially to people (already) living in the downtown area,” said Suggs. “It’s a welcome addition to what we’re trying to do here in this community.”
Burton told attendees who braved the brisk conditions to be on hand that he has big plans for Mudpies going forward.
“Those of you who know me know that I dream big,” said Burton, whose name graces honorary street signs at the intersections of Seventh and Patterson, Seventh and Cherry and Seventh and Marshall Streets. “This dream is coming to fruition, so I’m moving on to the next one.”
Mudpies Downtown East will generate roughly 35 new jobs. For application information or to pre-enroll your child in the facility, visit www.nwcdc.org. Commemorative bricks are also available for sale online.