Local childcare services were significantly expanded yesterday (August 28), with the opening of a brand-new, $5.5 million facility at Tompkins Cortland Community College’s Dryden campus.
Additionally, the Cortland Childcare Development Center on Pomeroy Street has also moved into part of the former Virgil Elementary School for a program that starts a week from today (September 5)
The new structure at TC3 triples the size of their previous childcare facility, increasing the capacity of their program from 30 children to 80. Completion of the building was announced three and a half years after the College officially made plans for its construction.
In addition to more capacity, the ages accepted into the program were also expanded to include infants as young as six weeks old, up to those six years old awaiting pre-school.
As for the new program at the former Virgil school, numbers are unconfirmed at this point as the sign-up period continues.
The first day of care is scheduled for Thursday, September 5, in accordance with the first day for the rest of the Cortland Enlarged City School District. Superintendent Michael Hoose also said the former elementary school will also be used as a bus hub, where children in the area will transfer onto buses that get them to and from school.
These expanded opportunities arrive in the midst of a childcare crisis the Cortland community shares with many others across the country.
Currently, there are just under 3,000 children who are six-years-old or younger in Cortland County.
Prior to the development of these two programs, the capacity of childcare services in the area was just 33% of that population.