ROCKINGHAM — Sandhills Children’s Center will soon be moving forward with an expansion project that’s been a dream for several years.
Officials from the center and those associated with the project had an informal groundbreaking ceremony Thursday at its Rockingham location on Crow Run Road, off of Long Drive.
The title of the project, according to Communications and Events Manager Robin Duff, is “Putting everything under one roof.”
Sandhills CEO Melanie Gayle said the expansion will connect the center’s three buildings with a breezeway, add therapy and office space, and renovate the parking lot.
According to Gayle, all the therapists are currently in one room.
“It’s really for the health and safety of the kids,” she said, explaining how they have to go from one building to another, especially in bad weather. “If you’re in a wheelchair or walker, it’s not easy to navigate.”
Duff said it will be easier on the staff and students and will hopefully entice more parents to bring their kids.
The expansion was designed by Stogner Architecture and the work will be done by Hawks Builders.
Sandhills, based in Southern Pines, bought the three buildings — previously a daycare — and opened its Rockingham center in 2008.
Jennifer Decker, program director for the Rockingham location, said contrary to public perception, Sandhills serves “children of all abilities,” not just those with special needs.
Decker added that there is a waiting list at both locations.
“Childcare is in such high demand and Richmond County is very fortunate to have a first-class facility in our community,” said Economic Developer Martie Butler, who is on the center’s board of directors and whose 4-year-old daughter Julia attends.
Gayle said the project is expected to be complete by the end of October.
From left: Rob Barrett, chairman of the Sandhills Children’s Center Board of Directors; Tom Boals, chairman of the Building Committee; Jennifer Decker, program director for SCC-Rockingham; David Stogner, Stogner Architecture; Evan Hawks, Hawks Builders; Melanie Gayle, CEO of SCC; Jim Lynn, board member; Chuck Goodman, board member; Chuck Cobb, board member; and Martie Butler, board member.