COLUMBUS — It's no secret Columbus has a need for more child care facilities.

When Columbus Community Hospital President and CEO Mike Hansen moved here in 2009, he heard just how dire the need was.

“My main focus when I first got here was to work on the Quality of Life initiative,” Hansen said. “We knew there was a need for the wellness center and the high school, as well as a child care center. Since then, our hospital staff and community have been able to come together from all directions.”

Those efforts paid off Tuesday morning when the Columbus Community Hospital Child Care Center held its open house.

Located at 3970 Health Parkway on the northeast corner of the hospital campus, the new child care center caters primarily to CCH staff with some spots open to the public.

“We took employee surveys to see what was needed — and that was child care,” Hansen said. “This center is meant to be a retention tool for our staff and to free up capacity in the community and general public.”

CCH Child Care Center director Melinda Long worked on the interior design for the roughly 13,000-square-foot facility for the better part of six months.

"I have worked in the child care field for 17 years,” Long said. “I am so excited to have this opportunity. We want to emphasize how important it is that each child is treated like family. They are, to us, a name and not a number.”

Among hundreds of applicants, 30 people were hired to work at the child care center, which is licensed for 105 children. Most of the spots have already been filled.

The facility serves children from 6 weeks old to school-age.

CCH Child Care Center assistant director Kristin Bierman shares the same philosophy as Long about making sure the children are treated like family.

“I am ready to have the kids come,” she said. “All the work we have done is for them.”

The child care center officially opens Monday. Hours are 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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