Marygrove Early Learning Center*

Detroit, MI

At approximately 28,000 gross-square-feet, the new one-story Early Learning Center on the campus of Marygrove College is designed to support teaching, provide wrap-around support services for children and families and offer space that may be utilized as a hub for nearby home- and center-based early childhood education providers. The program and design support a whole-child focus with space to address physical, intellectual and social development. The center will support 144 children from birth to five years old, including 80 federally subsidized slots through Early Head Start and Head Start. Twelve classrooms are planned, of which six are designed for infants and toddlers, four for preschoolers and two to support shifts in enrollment.

Additional spaces within the facility include child-focused therapy rooms, two gross motor rooms for infants/toddlers and preschoolers, a kitchen, a parent room and a large-group space to support center-based and community events. All students may access a 32,000-square foot natural playscape nestled within an existing grove of oak trees to the south of the facility. A surface parking lot is planned to support the center.

MBS Urban Initiatives funded a $6 million New Markets Tax Credit (“NMTC”) investment, which were added to investments from Capital Impact Partners and Cinnaire for a total of $19 million in NMTC allocation. Without NMTC financing, the project would have had to scale back materially in size and services.

Development of the Early Learning Center and other educational facilities on the Marygrove campus is part of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy that embeds high-quality educational institutions as critical components to community success. The Early Learning Center is a key component of a “cradle-to- career” campus to enable all residents in the surrounding Livernois-McNichols community to thrive. In addition, Starfish Family Services, the operator, will create a school of education to create, retain and develop a pipeline of qualified early childhood teachers and social workers at the early learning center and for the Detroit ECE ecosystem.

Environmental stewardship has been a key consideration in facility and site design. Most notably, the center will feature a geothermal system that will consume significantly less energy over the life of the system relative to a conventional heating and cooling system. A bioswale will support stormwater management on site using a permeable soil bed and perforated subdrain tile to infiltrate water and convey runoff in a non-erosive manner. Native plantings in the bioswale create habitats for wildlife and can support pollinators.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Quick Facts 

Square Footage: 28,000 sq. ft.

Total Project Cost: $32,695,935

Developer/Owner: Marygrove Conservancy

Allocatees: MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, Capital Impact Partners and Cinnaire

NMTC Equity Investor: USBCDC

Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architects

Projected Construction Jobs: 200+ Jobs

Projected Permanent Jobs: 35 FTE

Community Partners: USBCDC, Marygrove Conservancy and the Kresge Foundation