DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- It is a main focus across the state of Alabama: Improving and expanding early childhood education.
The center will educate young children as well as provide hands-on experience for university students.
Troy University's Dothan campus is doing its part to make sure local children have access to the best care and education by opening the Coleman Center for Early Learning and Family Enrichment.
As Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. spoke, the crowd looked forward not only to the ribbon being cut in front of the new center—but to the future.
“It’s a benefit to our community, to Troy University, we will be meeting the needs of our young children as well as our college students and so we’re very excited about all of those opportunities for those children," explained center director Nancy Mitta.
The center was named in honor of James F. Coleman, whose family donation of $1,000,000 helped launch the project.
“We’re just overwhelmed with joy, and humility and just praise and gratitude for what this center means," James F. Coleman's son and the chairman of their company said.
For the community it will mean a lot. The 14,000 ft. facility will provide care and education to 92 young children from six weeks of age to five years old.
“There’s a great need across the nation and particularly in Alabama in servicing children who are 3-K and upwards to five years of age," said Dionne Rosser-Mims, Dean of Troy Dothan's College of Education, "that’s the age range in which we have an incredible opportunity to shape the learning capacity of these kids."
However, children won’t be the only ones benefiting from the new center. Both undergraduate and graduate students will be able to get hands-on teaching experience through the center.
“Before we never really knew where we were going it could be Henry County, Dale County, Houston County, now we’re right here on campus," education student Kristyn Enfinger explained.
“Whenever we’re able to come in and experience things hands-on, we’re able to take the things we learn from the books and usually put it into motion and it just kind of brings it all together and makes more sense, so that we’re better prepared when we get out in the field."