Construction begins on early learning center in Hilltop

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The city of Columbus is celebrating a milestone Monday, announcing the start of construction on a multi-million dollar early learning center.

Mayor Andrew Ginther said every child deserves a strong foundation no matter what zip code they live in. The new state-of-the-art education center will be in the Hilltop neighborhood on the city’s west side. Columbus is investing $20 million in the project.

The Hilltop Partnership started back in 2017 with the goal of increasing capacity for early learning and programming in Hilltop.

The facility will have classrooms, a medical suite, and a kitchen to address the needs of families.

Ginther said the pandemic set the project back, but he’s committed to making sure every child has a foundation for success.

“The center points to a bright and equitable future for our children and all the collaborative resources and services that are going to be offered to children and families, especially as we battle back from this incredible pandemic — the human service crisis and economic crisis it brought — it couldn’t be more important than right now,” Ginther said.

Before the pandemic began in March, more than 700 kids were enrolled in the Hilltop area of the city, but enrollment dropped to just over 300 during the pandemic.

The project is also being funded with the help of investors, with one partner on the project saying Hilltop means a lot to his family, especially his father, who was born there.

“The first houses he built were on the west side in that same neighborhood,” Doug Borror said of his family’s history in the neighborhood. “Our west side roots do indeed run deep. I want everyone to succeed and have the same opportunities my dad had.”

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