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Beshear on hand for child center dedication

Oct. 30, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

ASHLAND -- The child care provided at the new, $1.6 million Guy and Lisa Spriggs Child Development Center will help the children get off to a better start when they head to school, Gov. Steve Beshear said.

Beshear was in Ashland Monday afternoon for a dedication ceremony at the 13,000-square-foot child development center, which opened last month. About 90 children are now enrolled in the center, said Jewell Malik, center director.

The child development center is a real life laboratory model providing training for quality early childhood professionals, according to a release. It is designed to care for children between the ages of six weeks to 5 years old, Malik said. It is open to the public and also serves students attending the college, she said. The center currently employs six people full time. It is operated by the Boyd County school system.

"There is no better investment than in early childhood education," Beshear said to about 100 people attending the dedication and ribbon cutting. "It's a classroom as well as a child development center."

For Anna Adams of Ashland, the child development center located across the street from Ashland Community and Technical College is a one-stop shop.

Five days a week, she drops off her daughter, 16-month-old Charla, at the center while she attends classes and works part-time at the community and technical college. "It's so convenient," Adams said. "I live just five minutes away. Having it here saves me an hour in the morning and an hour at night."

The center was financed by private funds and no state money was involved, Beshear said. He credited the work and donations by Spriggs and others in making the project happen. "This is not the first time (Guy and Lisa Spriggs) have stepped up."

Guy Spriggs chaired the capital campaign which financed the project.

"My family has been doing business in this area for 75 years," Spriggs said. "I believe that if you want to build a better America, you need to build better Americans."

Beshear said that more than half the college students in Kentucky are taking classes at the Kentucky Community and Technical College system. Of the 108,000 students attending classes at Kentucky community and technical colleges, 5,000 of them attend Ashland Community and Technical College.

"More than half of them are non-traditional students" and some of them need child care services, Beshear said.

Dr. Kay Adkins, Ashland Community and Technical College president, said the 6,500-square-foot full basement will be completed in the next two or three years. "Today has been a good day," said Adkins, who was named the college president several months ago. "The community has been gracious to us and welcoming to us."

The center allows children to be in a teaching environment, said Dr. Michael B. McCall, president and chief executive officer of the Kentucky Community and technical College System.