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Groundbreaking for the Y's Phyllis Washington Early Child Care Center



On Thursday, the Missoula Family YMCA organized a highly anticipated groundbreaking ceremony for the Phyllis Washington Early Child Care Center, a state-of-the-art facility valued at $4 million. This event, held on the Y's Russell Street campus, signifies the first phase of construction for the Here for Good capital campaign, a community-driven effort to enhance the YMCA in Missoula, with a total budget of $19 million.



Heather Foster, the CEO of the Missoula Family YMCA, expressed gratitude to the generous community for their support over the past 50 years, as the Y has remained committed to youth development. The Phyllis Washington Early Child Care Center, named in honor of a local philanthropist and longstanding YMCA supporter, will expand the Y's capacity to serve children aged 0-5 by doubling the current numbers. This is particularly important in addressing the critical shortage of infant and toddler care in Missoula, as the Y is the largest licensed child care provider in Montana.



The construction of the new center was made possible through various sources, including a significant contribution from the Washington Foundation, as well as donations from Kathryn J. Veazey, Susan and Roy O’Connor, the Madrona Hill Foundation, Town Pump Charitable Foundation, Tom and Ann Boone, Montana Timber Products, Allegiance Benefit Plan Management, Randy and Theresa Cox, Providence St. Patrick Hospital, and the Montana Child Care Innovation grant program.


The new child care center will offer several features, such as a breastfeeding room for working mothers to bond with their infants during work hours, a therapy and family meeting room for children requiring additional services, indoor/outdoor experiential learning spaces to enhance traditional learning methods, a large kitchen providing nutritious meals to children thrice daily, and expandable space to accommodate the growing needs of the community.


Anticipated to open in fall 2024, the new center will continue serving families currently enrolled in early child care during the construction phase. This child care center is just one aspect of the Missoula Family YMCA's larger Here for Good capital campaign, which has raised nearly $14 million to date. While the first construction phase commences this month, the YMCA is actively seeking further funds for the remaining stages of the project.




Upon securing the final funding, the YMCA will embark on the next two phases of the campus revitalization project, including an extensive renovation of the main building and the addition of new community amenities such as a covered multi-court Airnasium and an all-abilities playground. Throughout the construction process, the YMCA will remain open and continue its mission to serve over 15,000 western Montanans who rely on its services.


Jorge Watson, the Chief Volunteer Officer of the Missoula Family YMCA Board, emphasized that this groundbreaking represents the beginning of a significant transformation for the YMCA, highlighting the community's unity and commitment to one another. With Missoula's growth, the YMCA aims to grow alongside it, ensuring the provision of high-quality education, health, and wellness programs for all.



For additional details about the project or to contribute to the YMCA Here for Good capital campaign, please visit www.ymcahereforgood.org or reach out to Kate Rodriguez at krodriguez@ymcamissoula.org.

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