Desoto County News

Lynda & Bill Austin YMCA Early Learning Center in Hernando opens

Photo: Ribbon cutting for the Lynda & Bill Austin YMCA Early Learning Center in Hernando is held on Thursday, April 18. (Bob Bakken/

A large crowd gathered inside for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Lynda & Bill Austin YMCA Early Learning Center, located at 905 Magnolia Hills Cove, off McIngvale Road in Hernando. 

The facility is located in a building that at one time was a closed child care program. Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson said the center fills a large need for the city.  

“When this one folded and went under, it left a huge gap here,” Johnson said. “We have been anxiously waiting for the opening of this. It’s a big deal. As we move forward as a community, we are going to understand how important the Y will be to our kids and to the whole community.”

The center also became a reality with the generosity of the Maddox Foundation, which provided $900,000 to assist in the construction, estimated at about $1 million.  Maddox Foundation CEO Robin Hurdle and Mary Austin Montieth, daughter of Bill and Lynda Austin, also provided remarks during the program. 

Jerry Martin, who heads the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South, said the Early Learning Center becomes the fifth center of its type in the region.  

“We are the largest childcare provider in the states of Mississippi and Tennessee and we serve more meals to more children than any other Y in the country,” Martin said. “We certainly have a great presence in Tennessee but we have a lot of presence in North Mississippi. Our largest facility of our 12 is the one in Olive Branch, which has over 8,000 members.”

The Lynda & Bill Austin Early Learning Center expands the YMCA presence in Hernando and DeSoto County, offering a nurturing environment where children can learn, grow, and thrive. With the potential to serve over 130 children, the center is poised to make a lasting impact on the community by providing essential skills and a strong foundation for future success.

Enrollment for care at the Lynda & Bill Austin YMCA Early Learning Center is now available and ready to serve families of children ages 6 weeks through 5 years. The Center will retain operational hours of 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. 

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