VOL. 114 | NO. 61 | Wednesday, March 29, 2000
Bluff City Academy opens up
Bluff City Academy expands
Downtown child care options
By LAURIE JOHNSON
The Daily News
Parents working in Downtown Memphis now have another option for child care.
Bluff City Academy, located in the Memphis Area Transit Authority North End Terminal at 444 N. Main St., is now open and accepting applications for children from 6 weeks to 12 years old.
The child care center is owned and operated by William and Pam Roberson (formerly Pam Crittenden of WREC TV-3), who said they decided to open the center because they saw a need for additional child care in the Downtown area.
"We saw a need for a place that would be convenient for people living and working Downtown," Pam Roberson said. "And this location is ideal, because were right on the trolley line. People can park their car at the terminal, drop off their child, and then they can either hop on the trolley or take the bus from there to wherever they need to go.
"A lot of people have to rush out east to get their kids before 6 oclock. This way, they dont have that stress."
The 4,500-square-foot center is licensed to accommodate 94 children, from 6 weeks to 12 years old, said Andrea White, director of Bluff City Academy.
Initially, the center is providing full-time, year-round services only for infants through 5-year-olds; its programs for school-age children currently are limited to summer and holiday camps, she said.
The Academys operating hours are from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Eventually, the center plans to offer extended hours, White said.
"We will offer extended hours for organizations or groups who may have conferences or meetings," she said. "For a deposit, we will stay open for those individuals."
Roberson said future plans for Bluff City Academy include transforming it into a 24-hour operation to accommodate people whose workdays arent necessarily 9-to-5.
"Wed like to be able to offer care for people who work in the medical center doctors and nurses who work odd hours as well as restaurant and hotel employees who work different shifts, as well."
Bluff City Academys curriculum is based on the Addison-Wesley Active Learning Series, which emphasizes self- and teacher-directed activities for children 6 weeks to 5 years in the areas of math, nature and science, conversational skills, art and music.
The center also offers dance and gymnastics classes, computer training through CompuChild and foreign language lessons through the Berlitz Learning Center.
The academy originally was supposed to open in January; however, a backlog in the states licensing board delayed the centers opening until March 1.
"All of our paperwork was in order, it was just a matter of somebody getting the information put into the computer," White said.
To introduce the public to Bluff City Academy, the center will host an open house from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 27 at the day care centers offices.
The Academy currently has a staff of three, all of whom are trained in CPR and first aid. Additional employees will be hired as enrollment expands. The center also has a parent advisory committee, as well as video camera monitoring of every classroom and indoor play area.
Funding for Bluff City Academy is coming strictly through student tuitions and fees; the day care center is not receiving any type of governmental funding or other public support, White said.
Tuition rates for enrollment at the academy range from $140 per week for infants age 6 weeks through 15 months, to $90 per week for 4- and 5-year-olds. There also is a $70 registration fee.
Lunch and snacks are included. Breakfast is an additional $1.50 per day, and is served between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
As part of an introductory offer, the academy is offering tuition discounts to employees of AutoZone, First Tennessee Bank, St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, as well as federal, state, city and county employees, White said.
Any company with 100 employees or more can qualify for discounts for their employees, as well.
"Anyone interested in receiving a discount for their company needs to contact us," White said. "We only discount for children 3 and over, because those other slots fill up so quickly.