Press release courtesy of Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Mericle Family Center for Early Childhood Education opened on January 3, 2022. The building was transformed into the state-of-the-art early learning center that it is today. The 15,136 square foot building is located at 1122 Oak Street in Pittston Township at the entrance to CenterPoint Commerce & Trade Park West. All of the custom fit out at the building was donated by the Mericle family. Local real estate developer Rob Mericle spearheaded the project with additional support from multiple donors and $245,250 in PA DCED Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits, announced Nov 9th 2021.
“Our family thought the building would be a perfect fit for the YMCA’s programs,” said Mericle. “Providing quality child care and educational support, especially early childhood education, is critically important to the well-being and financial health of area families. We are very proud to make this contribution and wish the YMCA well as it grows its programs in the Center.”
Mericle said the facility can accommodate up to 168 children and has been designed and customized to obtain a four-star rating. “We re-worked the entire building to meet the state’s strict guidelines for a first-class, child care facility,” he said. “We’ve built 15 rooms to accommodate infants to pre-school children and two large classrooms for the YMCA’s before and after school programs and its remote learning courses.”
Approximately 3,000 square feet of indoor play space and a 520 square foot indoor multi-purpose area has been constructed by Mericle, as well as a brand-new commercial kitchen that can serve more than 250 children daily and, outside, a 2,500 square foot, fully fenced, outdoor playground with new equipment and a rubber safety surface was built.
Other significant contributions include support from the Moses Taylor Foundation and the PNC Foundation, helping to provide equipment for the Center’s commercial kitchen and a van to provide feeding programs to downtown Pittston and other remote sites. The Center is projected to serve 40,000 CACFP free/or subsidized meals in its first year.
The Mericle Family Center for Early Childhood Education currently serves infants, toddlers, Pre-K, and school-age children at the Pittston Area School District. The YMCA is excited to expand its services from their downtown Greater Pittston YMCA location to serve more children and families in the Pittston Area community. They are looking forward to partnering with local businesses in the future to offer non-traditional care hours to support working families.
“This is an exciting time for our YMCA. By opening this new child care branch at the Mericle Family Center for Early Childhood Education, we are strengthening our mission-oriented work in the locations and communities where critical services are needed most. We remain committed to supporting our neighbors – learning, growing, and thriving together both now and in the future,” says Jim Thomas, Executive Director of the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA.
The YMCA has been one of the biggest providers of child care services and swim lessons across the country for over a century, and these services have benefited the Wilkes-Barre and Downtown Pittston communities for decades.
“Even with the fantastic childcare options already available in the Greater Pittston Area, the expansion of our business parks created a need for more great options. What better way to help our working parents than to have The YMCA step in to fill this void. Working parents face many challenges and quality childcare shouldn’t be one of them. We are grateful to Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA and The Mericle Family for bringing this fantastic childcare center to Greater Pittston,” says Michelle Mikitish, Executive Vice President for the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce.
“The opening of the Mericle Family Center for Early Childhood Education furthers the much-needed expansion, mission, and services of the Greater Wyoming Valley Area YMCA. This state-of-the-art early learning facility will allow much-needed quality childcare services to be offered in the Pittston Area community and also to the tenants of local business parks – addressing a critical workforce need. We are excited for the opening of this facility and the impact it will have on our current community’s needs, as well as the role it will play in building a strong foundation for our future generations,” says Lindsay Griffin, President and CEO of the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce and Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry.