A multimillion-dollar expansion for KD Academy is expected to upgrade the early learning and child care center’s capacity from 95 to 430 students at its new headquarters on Prospect Avenue — a redevelopment boon for the east side corridor and the extension of a family’s long-running mission.
“Our goal starting out was to create a child care model that exists nowhere else in the region, which we’ve done with great success,” said co-owner Myron McCant, who runs the business alongside his wife, KD Academy’s founder, Penny Dale-McCant. “The natural next step is to build out our capabilities to provide for as many babies and kids in need as we possibly can, as well as their families. The services that the new early learning and pediatric centers can offer will provide immeasurable value to families in Kansas City’s urban core and beyond.”
The center, formerly named The Kiddie Depot Learning Center, is Kansas City’s only child care facility that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Relocating to the 14,000-square-foot facility located at 2141 Prospect Ave. will allow KD Academy to enhance its services, boosting its caretaking employees from 19 to 65.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, followed by a tour, is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 21 at the site.
Click here to read more about KD Academy, which began as a home-based child care facility in 2005, evolving into an around-the-clock service for working parents regardless of work schedule.
Watch a video below about KD Academy from Flatland (KC PBS), a nonprofit newsroom and collaborator with Startland News, then keep reading.
The early learning center itself spans 10,000 square feet and features a state-of-the-art design, as well as award-winning literacy and STEM-based programs, according to the McCants. The new space will also feature a saltwater aquarium foyer, colored alcove classrooms and a multipurpose lab for STEM and coding.
An adjoining 4,000-square-foot, mixed-use space is expected to host partners that offer extended services to KD Academy families and the surrounding community. The McCants plan to partner with local health, wellness or educational providers to offer these much-needed services to anyone in the community, not just KD Academy students, they said.
“We’ve been forced to turn away hundreds of kids over the years simply because we didn’t have the capacity,” said Penny Dale-McCant. “This new state-of-the-art facility not only allows us to offer care for more kids from infancy through young adulthood, it’s also a beautiful building where families will feel at home.”
Pediatric and mental health providers are being considered for immediate build-out of the space.
Construction on the new facility, which began in 2019 — in partnership with local general contractor Centric Projects, and with architecture and interior design provided by KC-based Hoefer Welker — concluded in early August.
Click here to read more about the background of the KD Academy project, which was estimated to cost about $4 million when it broke ground in 2019.
KD Academy’s new location in the Prospect Corridor will allow for continued development of the area as well as crucial child and health care services for Kansas City’s urban core as a part of the Central City Economic Development opportunity (CCED). Its location off U.S. 71, I-70 and the 23rd Street pass-thru will also provide access and service to families from all areas of the city.
The early learning center has several public and private partnerships with local businesses and organizations like Gates Bar-B-Q, Reconciliation Services and Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide child care options for employees and families the organizations work with. Because of its newly expanded capacity, KD Academy is actively recruiting new employees for all shifts.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.