Tree Top Innovative Learning Center Holds Open House

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COLUMBIA - The Tree Top Innovative Learning Center had it's ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon.

The Columbia Area Chamber of Commerce attended the opening of the first community center for North Columbia.

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid made a proclamation making December 10 Tree Top Innovation Day.

Chris Campbell owns the center. Campbell is also a member of the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence.

The center is built entirely on $233,000 worth of donations from more than 30 companies.

Campbell started a day care for the community in his basement before he even joined the Mayor's Task Force. He decided to move to a center when he couldn't hold as many people.

Campbell and several volunteers from the community have worked on the center for more than seven months. He said the center is not quite ready to open.

"When people walk in, they will be greeted with a smile. I want it to feel like Tiger Hotel no matter how much money you have," said Campbell.

The center will have several rooms designated for different purpose and kids of different ages.

It will have a media room for not only kids to work on homework, but for young parents to work on getting GED's and diplomas. Campbell said they are looking for retired teachers and volunteers to help tutor kids and parents.

Campbell said the purpose of the center is to help both kids and parents get on the right track for the future.

"We want the kids to have somewhere safe to go, and deter them from crime. We also want to help them get on the path of home ownership, education, reading again, whatever they can do to get involved in their community," said Campbell.

Campbell said he plans to have the center finished by sometime in January.  He said they hope to raise $1.5 million to maintain the building and avoid having to turn away families.