COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther helped welcome families to the new Hilltop Early Learning Center Saturday.
The state-of-the-art facility, located at 45 Clarendon Avenue, provides free, high-quality pre-K in a 50,000-square-foot building that includes a 3,000-square-foot healthcare facility.
The building will provide access to care from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, counseling services and food pantries to everyone in the Hilltop community, whether or not they have a child enrolled.
"When we started this process, even though there were 2,000 4-year-olds on the Hilltop, only 152 of them were enrolled in high quality early learning. And at full capacity, there will be 240 students here, able to get exposed to everything they need to get ready for kindergarten," said Ginther.
The Hilltop Early Learning Center was developed in response to the Hilltop Early Childhood Partnership (HECP) 2018 report that showed fewer children residing in the Hilltop neighborhood were enrolled in high-quality early learning programs than anywhere else in the city.
The city of Columbus' historic $20 million investment made it possible.
"When I first saw it, I was like, 'wow, overwhelmed,'" said Jonie Johnson, who enrolled her grandson Issaac Price in the program.
In a release, Gina Ginn, CEO of Columbus Early Learning Centers said, "All children deserve opportunity, nurturing, and support."
Up to 240 children can attend pre-kindergarten at the new Hilltop Early Learning Center.
"This is a first-of-its-kind early learning center with partnerships and on-site facilities unlike anywhere else in Columbus — and it’s built specifically for Hilltop," said Paula Neal, Hilltop Partnership Director.
Applications are being accepted for lead teachers, assistant teachers and classroom aides. More information can be found here.