Pryor Creek, Okla.-- Cherokee Nation is partnering with MidAmerica Industrial Park after donating land for the tribe to build and operate a $16 Million childcare center in Mayes County.

MidAmerica Industrial Park dedicated 12 acres of land located on West 530 alongside Hwy 69A that will be used as part of the childcare center construction site.

The Cherokee Nation is investing millions to construct a 27,000-square foot Cherokee Nation Child Development Center. It will feature 12 classrooms, two of which will be dedicated to a Head Start/Early Head Start program in the facility.

“This is a win-win for the industrial park which has more than 4,000 employees working in the park and for our Cherokee Nation citizens who face a shortage of adequate child care in Mayes County,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “Only 20 percent of working parents in Pryor have access to available child care slots so the demand is very high and we felt it important to help our community fill this need, as well as serve our youngest Cherokee population.”

The Cherokee Nation Child Development Center with Head Start will provide up to 175 children a safe place to learn and grow.

“This center will also provide 50 new jobs as we add childcare teachers, administrative staff, cooks and custodians for the center, and that’s not even including the construction jobs as we build the 

center and roadway infrastructure,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said.

The Cherokee Nation Child Development with Head Start center will be built east of ‘The District’, MidAmerica’s 162-acre development that incorporates retail, multi-family housing, residential homes, and parks and trails.

“I strongly believe in a team approach to solve issues like expanding child care for families in Mayes County and creating new jobs,” Cherokee Nation Tribal Council for District 15 Danny Callison, of Pryor, said.  “That is why I am so proud of this effort.”

The first phase of The District opened in July 2021 and is a strategic three-part MidAmerica master plan which includes ongoing capital investments in workforce, infrastructure and quality of life initiatives.

"Every day our goal is to deliver what our companies need to succeed. This child development center adds yet another significant asset as we recruit employees to our region and ensures our communities are prepared for population growth," said MidAmerica CEO David Stewart. “MidAmerica is evolving into a multifaceted employment center adapting to the needs of our employers while driving population growth and job opportunities in Northeast Oklahoma. As we continue to invest in a comprehensive ‘placemaking’ strategy for the region, we are focused on providing amenities to ensure MidAmerica is a premier choice to work and raise a family.”

The child development center is in addition to the strategic partnership between the Cherokee Nation and the MidAmerica Industrial Park for workforce development and recruitment. The Cherokee Nation’s Career Services office is located in Pryor and the Cherokee Nation Aerospace & Defense is located at MidAmerica.

The Cherokee Nation Child Development with Head Start center is expected to break ground in late 2022.

In 2021, Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner also announced a $40 million investment to build or replace Head Start Centers in Tahlequah, Nowata, Kenwood, Jay, Cherry Tree in Stilwell and Redbird in Sallisaw.