Looking for child care, pre-K? Arlington center with over 100 seats to open summer 2025

More than 100 child care and preschool seats for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old could be available in Arlington by next summer.

A 14,802-square-foot child care facility with 10 classrooms for infants, toddlers and preschoolers will be built at 696 N. Fielder Road in Arlington after the Tarrant County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with the city of Arlington on Tuesday to transfer $4.7 million of American Rescue Plan funding toward the project. There was no discussion by commissioners on the project because it was approved as a consent item, which are typically discussed only at a commissioner’s request.

Child Care Associates, one of the largest child development organizations in North Texas, will operate the facility and offer Early Head Start and Head Start programs, which provide federally funded child care services to low-income families, in addition to non-subsidized child care and pre-K.

“We’re just thrilled with the chance to continue to expand to Arlington. Arlington is an area that has a great deal of child care needs,” Kara Waddell, CEO and president of Child Care Associates, told the Star-Telegram. “We look forward to meeting the needs of working families.”

The plan is to have two infant classrooms, four toddler classrooms and four preschool classrooms at the Arlington facility, Waddell said. Depending on the number of children who are enrolled in Early Head Start and Head Start, the range of total children who could be served is 106 to 132.

The total cost of construction for the early childhood space is budgeted at $6.5 million, according to county records.

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Tarrant County’s contribution toward the project is part of its $36 million investment in expanding high-quality child care and family support programs through federal COVID-19 relief funding. The city of Arlington is also contributing $1.8 million in community development block grant funds toward the project and acquired the property where the facility will be constructed.

The Arlington site is one of six early childhood education projects in the pipeline in Tarrant County that will be operated by Child Care Associates and opening from this year through 2026. The other projects and their locations are:

  • Child Care Studio at Las Vegas Trail, 8201 Calmont Ave., Fort Worth

  • Stop Six Hub, 5100 block of Avenue G, Fort Worth

  • Gwendolyn C. Gragg Child Development Center, 2400 E. First St., Fort Worth

  • Tarrant County College south campus, 5301 Campus Drive, Fort Worth

  • Tarrant County College northwest campus, 4801 Marine Creek Parkway, Fort Worth

“Just by nature of choosing these locations, it will be focused on being able to serve low-income families,” Waddell said of the projects.

Although the ZIP code of the incoming Arlington facility is not considered to be a subsidized child care desert itself, it is in the midst of multiple ZIP codes that are. The neighboring 76013 ZIP code has 32 subsidized seats for every 100 children of low-income parents, according to Children at Risk, a child advocacy organization that tracks various types of child care deserts. To the east in Grand Prairie, that number of seats drops to 14, and to the north in Hurst, that number of seats drops to 16.

A subsidized child care desert is a ZIP code where the demand for subsidized child care of newborns to 5-year-olds — whose families are living below 200% of the federal poverty line — is at least three times greater than the supply. A ZIP code must have at least 30 low-income children in its boundaries to meet this definition.