State providing $7.1M for expanded Lawrence day care center

March 7, 2022 : The Eagle-Tribune, by Jill Harmacinski

LAWRENCE — A state agency is providing $7.1 million in financing to rebuild and expand a child care center at 585 Andover St.

MassDevelopment, a state finance agency and land bank, is providing the $7.1 million tax-exempt bond to the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council. The GLCAC will use the money to demolish, rebuild and expand an outdated children’s center at 585 Andover St., officials announced.

The new day care center will be two stories, measuring 28,790 square feet, according to information on the project provided by MassDevelopment.

Dan Rivera, MassDevelopment’s president and CEO and a former Lawrence mayor, said the GLCAC “is a community leader in providing individuals and families with the resources they need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.”

“MassDevelopment is proud to help the organization further invest in Lawrence through the creation of a brand-new child care center that will serve nearly 60 additional children, create jobs and support working families,” Rivera said.

GLCAC will build the new center in the current parking lot at 585 Andover St. The former day care site will be used for a playground and parking, according to MassDevelopment.

The new center will be able to serve nearly 300 children from ages of 15 months to 11 years old.

“In addition to classrooms, the new building will feature a state-of-the-art kitchen, which will be used to prepare meals for more than 800 children across GLCAC’s entire early education network. The organization expects to create 16 new full-time jobs in the next three years as a result of the increased capacity,” according to a statement on the project released by MassDevelopment.

“We can create thriving local economies by ensuring families have access to high-quality, affordable child care,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors.

Lawrence Mayor Brian DePena noted that early childhood has many benefits “including better, more equitable long-term outcomes for children of divergent economic backgrounds.”

“The expansion of GLCAC child care services, with a new and expanded site, is one of the keystones of our youth’s future, but it also provides an important benefit to Lawrence’s working parents, especially working mothers,” DePena said.

In 2007, MassDevelopment issued a $4.3 million tax-exempt bond to help the GLCAC buy its current child care facility at 585 Andover St.