A child care company in the area has broken ground on its fourth location.
Milestones Child Development Center — with locations in Belmont, Caledonia and Cascade Township — is building a 12,000-square-foot center in Portage, at 8101 Moorsbridge Rd.
The center, which will provide year-round programming for children from six-weeks old to 12, had its groundbreaking last week and is scheduled to open this August.
The Portage location will be licensed to care for 176 children.
Owner Kelly Russell said Kalamazoo-area parents have been asking her to open a center there for years, and Milestones has begun taking reservations for the new location.
Russell said the company's child care philosophy "resonates with parents who appreciate our focus on children, commitment to education and investment in safety.”
She declined to disclose the project's cost.
The building will contain a number of elements: 11 classrooms designed to provide sensory stimulation; Spanish-language classrooms that will allow children to develop skills in English and Spanish; a natural playground that can be accessed through large roll-up doors; a BluePoint alert system that automatically calls the police faster than a 911 call; ballistic glass; dual authentication entry security; and a biometric scanner.
Sixty to 75 newly hired full- and part-time early childhood educators will work at the center, specializing in infant, toddler, preschool, pre-kindergarten, young fives, school-age and Spanish programs, Russell said.
Milestones staff member Lauren Sippert will relocate to Portage and serve as the new center's director.
Milestones is partnering with Grand Rapids-based Secure Education Consultants, a security provider comprised of former U.S. Secret Service agents and owned by Russell’s husband, Jason, for safety features and to train the center’s staff to protect children.
Grand Rapids-based Architectural Concepts is the architect on the project.
Kelly Russell is the project's interior designer.
Grand Rapids-based CD Barnes Construction is the project’s contractor.
Milestones opened its first location in Cascade Township in 2005.
Each center provides child care and year-round programming.
A play-based curriculum provides children with developmentally appropriate learning experiences throughout the day.