LITTLE ROCK — A new pediatrics center that will serve about 400 special needs children and create about 50 jobs officially opened its doors Thursday in west Little Rock.

Gov. Mike Beebe and Mayor Mark Stodola attended the grand opening event for the 31,000-square-foot Pediatrics Plus, which cost about $7.3 million. The facility will provide physical, occupational and speech therapy for children and adults up to 21, said owner Amy Denton, who with her husband, Todd, also own Pediatrics Plus facilities in Russellville, Conway and North Little Rock.

The facility houses 11 classrooms, a kitchen, library, nurse’s office, two multi-sensory assessable playgrounds, an education and training room, more than 15,000-square-feet of therapy space and equipment. It features a state-of-the-art gait training system that will help children with weight baring, posture and balance, while allowing the therapist to teach appropriate movement patterns in a child’s gait.

"This new facility will allow us to address the individual and specialized needs of each and every child referred to our program while also building a lasting and positive future for the children and families of Central Arkansas," Denton said.

"The real reason we’re here … the real value is the hope that the families receive and the actual therapy and assistance and professional help that the children receive … and the ability to transition, especially if we attack some of these issues early, the ability to be fully productive and engaged all throughout the rest of their life," Beebe said.