NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It was the music that brought Leisa Byars to Music City almost 20 years ago.
“I was VP of marketing and artist development for EMI Christian Music Group,” she said.
Along the way, Byars wanted to eventually start her own business.
“When I thought about how I could make a difference and start a business that really did impact our community, it made sense to do childcare,” she said.
In 2010, she opened The Goddard School in Hendersonville, and she soon opened more locations across Middle Tennessee.
“We’ve actually been looking for a space downtown for about 10 years,” said Byars.
After a long search, she finally found her newest location at Nashville Yards.
“It’s not very often that a developer has childcare in mind when they are creating a space,” said Byars.
Southwest Value Partners will be working with Byars to open this facility adjacent to the new Pinnacle Tower.
This will be a 20,000 square-foot space spanning two levels, and featuring 15 classrooms and indoor and outdoor play areas with state of the art equipment.
“It is so central to downtown,” said Kylie Graves. “It is there where people are going to be working.”
Graves works for the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, and said availability, cost, and quality care are three things challenging families looking for child care.
“We really have to look at this growth. (It) is not sustainable if we’re not also investing in infrastructure like childcare,” she said.
Graves said, according to the county health rankings, there are only eight childcare centers per 1,000 children ages five and under in our area, so businesses stepping up to incorporate childcare can help fix this problem.
“I think we’re seeing more and more that businesses are realizing that if they want workers, they’re going to have to address this issue as well,” said Graves.
While Byars is excited for what’s to come, she hopes more childcare centers will begin to pop up around downtown Nashville.
“I do think that it’s a benefit and an opportunity for developers to get in early and to think about childcare from the beginning,” she said.
Byars said they plan to enroll 250 children with priority given to those who live in the Nashville Yards area.
The facility is set to open in the spring of 2025.