AMESBURY — The region’s newest childcare center has opened at the long-anticipated Maples Crossing education, sports and wellness campus on the site of the old New England Sports Park.
The YMCA of the North Shore will serve 56 students from infants to five-year-olds with eight teachers in a building where once the Crossbar Pub stood next to six tubing lanes.
Global Property Developers has renovated the old bar and restaurant into two floors of rooms with 60 windows in a new modern environment. The center has two preschool classrooms, a gross motor skills room, a toddler room and an infant room.
Director Tamra Galvin is excited for the YMCA to collaborate with Maples Crossing to bring a new childcare option to serve North Shore families, particularly those in Amesbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and Merrimac.
Maples Crossing project manager Mike Gorman said the YMCA is the first business to open on the 75-acre site that one day will include turfed athletic fields, six indoor hockey rinks, one an arena, and office buildings for sports and wellness businesses, plus a hotel and restaurants.
“This campus will be welcoming families every day,” Gorman said. “From education to training to sports, that is what Maples Crossing is about. We care deeply about sports and wellness.”
“Being part of this exciting new development while providing a much-needed service for families in this area is a win win,” said YMCA of the North Shore President and CEO Christopher Lovasco, who described the new center as high-quality, welcoming and nurturing childcare.
The center will offer STEM curriculum, literacy and the arts as well as creative movement, music and sports.
Two fenced outdoor playgrounds are adjacent to the classrooms. One is designed for infant and toddler play and development; the other for preschoolers and includes gross motor skill development.
Fees at the center are flexible for families that have incomes less than $110,000 a year, Galvin said.
The center is looking for two more certified teachers and is paying a $1,000 bonus.
Outside the center, bulldozers are completing a much-needed turfed athletic field that Gorman said should be ready for team play by mid-October.
“The children are really going to enjoy watching the bulldozers,” Galvin said.
The field, which has been under construction for a frustrating 14 months, will be used for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and “any other sports I can think of,” Gorman said. He gets calls daily from coaches and youth club managers asking if the field is ready.
The Maples Crossing campus, in the highly visible location on Interstate 495, is expected to attract families from across the region. Those families will visit Amesbury to shop and dine, he said.
“We will be ambassadors, promoting the greatness of Amesbury,” Gorman said. “It matters how we project.”
The construction of the rectangular field was delayed by the Pandemic, but also because the site is at the bottom of one of the tallest hills in New England. Storm water collects from the hill on the flat land where the fields, parking lots and the YMCA early learning childhood center stands. Hundreds of water pipes had to be installed to divert the water under the field.
Gorman estimates that Global Property, which broke ground in early 2020, has spent $10 million to date on site development and that does not include a new road to access the hockey complex up the hill or any of the other buildings in phase three and four.
For more information on the early learning center, contact Galvin at firstname.lastname@example.org.