The Dover center is 15,000 square feet and will serve as a daycare and school for migrant students.
The Redlands Christian Migrant Association held a ribbon cutting for its new Dover facility Monday, June 6. The old center, located behind the new campus, has the longest waitlist out of the RCMA’s 69 centers.
The new $3.6 million, 15,000-square-foot center increases RCMA’s capacity in Dover, from 88 children to 176. It will open in November.
“We have a long, happy history in Dover,” Barbara Mainster, RCMA’s executive director said. “But we have regretted for many years having to put so many families on waiting lists. Their kids deserve good early childhood education.”
In October, RCMA plans to move the older center, a cluster of three modular buildings, to a rear corner of the 6-acre home of the new center. It will resume operations there.
The Immokalee-based RCMA is Florida’s largest nonprofit child-care provider for migrant families. Founded in Homestead in 1965, RCMA expanded to Ruskin, in 1974 at the urging of a Catholic nun.
RCMA opened a center in Dover in 1981, after a 3-year-old boy was burned in a car fire next to the strawberry field where his parents were working.
Today, Tampa Bay is home to RCMA’s largest concentration of operations.
USDA Rural Development provides loans, grants and loan guarantees aimed at improving the economy and quality of life in rural America. The agency loaned RCMA $1.9 million for construction of the new child-care center. The federal Head Start child-care program paid for the land, site work and the remainder of construction costs with grants of $1.7 million. Wish Farms and the Yankees Foundation also contributed.
Contact Amber Jurgensen at [email protected].