• 86°

Child care, community center set to open this month

After two years of hard work, the end, or rather the beginning, is near for William “Bo” and Elizabeth “Liz” Harris.

The couple recently opened the community center portion of Clark County Child Development Center (C3DC) and expect to open the child care center later this month.

C3DC will host an open house-style soft opening for the community to tour the facility, learn more about programming and even enroll for child care from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the center, 41 N. Main St.

The Harrises bought the former Thoroughbred Gymnastics Center in downtown Winchester in August 2018 with hopes of bringing their shared vision of offering opportunities for Clark County’s youth to life.

“The main reason (we’re here) is because we both love kids,” Bo said. “We have eight kids in our home. Our passion comes from just the love of kids and seeing them grow and watch them develop and watch their smiles on their faces when they become successful.”

They wanted to offer a safe space for children and teens to come in Winchester.

“Winchester is lacking opportunities for youth, and it’s important to bring that back to our community to get these kids to be successful adults,” she said. “To give them something positive to do, keep them off the streets, keep them out of trouble and put them, more than anything, around positive people, role models and influences.”

While renovations and preparations have taken longer than initially anticipated, the couple are excited to reach this point in the project, but don’t anticipate the work will stop anytime soon.

“We’re going to be continuously making upgrades to the facility,” Bo said.

The center hosted its first community event Monday, partnering with Winchester Youth Soccer League to have futsal, or indoor soccer, games in the gymnasium. WYSL will have futsal games at the center from 6 to 8 p.m. every Monday in February.

There is already a slate of other events and programs set for this month.

C3DC will have its first lock-in with drop-off at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14 and pickup at 7 a.m. Feb. 15. There will be a dodgeball tournament, basketball games, video games, prizes, snacks, a meal and more. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. To register, email clark.ky.kids@gmail.com or text 859-644-2639.

The center will partner with Harris Hoops and Team Rize to host a camp twice weekly focusing on the fundamentals of basketball for first, second and third graders. Hoop Academy starts at 6 p.m. Feb. 17 and will meet each Tuesday and Thursday. The cost is $40 per month.

And, on Feb. 21, will be the first of many Friday Night Live events. These are open-gym style events where participants can use the technology room, tumbling room and gymnasium from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. There will also be concessions. The rates are $7 for two hours (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. or 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.) or $14 for the whole four hours.

The Harrises are also looking to partner with other organizations in the community. In addition to WYSL, they also have established partnerships with neighboring Dairy Queen and Leeds Center for the Arts. They also plan to have a Rowland Arts Center Fifth Quarter event for high schoolers in March.

“We are open to partnerships with anyone in the community,” Liz said. “We are looking for people who would want to teach classes or offer programs that would benefit children or even adults in the community.”

As for the child care center, they are waiting on final inspections from the state before they can open. Those are scheduled to take place later this month. The couple already operates the Lil Sprouts Daycare facility in Winchester, and those children will eventually attend C3DC.

The daycare has a capacity for 375 students with competitive tuition rates, Bo said.

All students will have $10 of their tuition invested into a college fund bank account monthly as well.

“It’s important for people to know we want to do this to give back to the children so they can plan for their futures,” Liz said.

The couple are excited to offer this one-of-a-kind program to the community.

“As far as we know, and from what we’ve heard from the state, there’s nothing like this in Winchester or even in Kentucky,” Liz said.

“We had a unique idea and we are excited to be able to bring it to life and bring it to Winchester,” Bo said.

For information about programming or enrollment, visit C3DC.us.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

email author More by Whitney