SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ)—The Acting Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary and multiple officials broke ground on the new Learning Lamp facility in Somerset.

The center located on Aberdeen Drive is set to undergo a two million dollar expansion on its current facility. The new space will hold three new classrooms set to be equipped with better amenities for the young ones. That includes better safety measures, improved child supervision, and more bathrooms.

The CEO of the Learning Lamp, Dr. Leah Spangler, said that once completed, the new facility will be more comfortable for families. That means they’ll want to drop their children off with no issue.

“We are renovating the facility with the purpose of early childhood in mind,” Spangler said. “That means brighter, clean classrooms, bathrooms in the classrooms, and kitchens in the classrooms. That means a safe environment for the children and upgraded facilities for families. So that they’ll feel comfortable leaving their children at the childcare program.”

The expansion is funded through community donations, gifts, and state grants. There’s also a $67,500 investment from the Neighborhood Assistance Program, a private-sector investment into projects that’ll improve distressed communities.

Acting Secretary Neil Weaver said that this is important for the children and parents who need childcare services. He describes that the lack of childcare is primarily due to the overflow and waitlisting, which occurs in multiple counties.

“This is an issue we see is childcare as an economic development issue,” Weaver said. “We need to get parents, and they want to get back to work. We need to provide funding and opportunities for parents to get back to work. A project like this is definitely an example of that.”

The new facility is expected to double its enrollment, which currently stands at 64 children. In addition, this would allow for at least sixty more families to join the workforce. That is beneficial to both the state and local economy.

“Childcare centers provide reliable care to families, reliable quality care, making it easier for families with young children to stay in the workforce,” Spangler said. “Which is essential to the growth of our local economy.”

“It helps us grow the state economy simply,” Weaver said. “The Governor is very dedicated to the workforce and workforce development. This is one of those initiatives that really helps with that.”

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Then, the facility will create 27 full and part-time positions, which will further benefit the economy. The entire construction project is expected to be completed by next July, with the enrollment to begin next year.