Day Care Center Groundbreaking Ceremony
“It’s a win for the children at the center, a win for their families, a win for the campus and a win for the whole community...”
--Director Judy Metzger
Aug. 24, 2009 -- Ground was broken May 6 for the new Campus and Community Children’s Center, and in addition to the many adults who played a role, a small platoon of youngsters donned miniature hard hats and wielded plastic sand shovels as they joined President Dennis Hefner, Fredonia Mayor Michael Sullivan, and many other university administrators and elected officials to help celebrate the latest example of growth on campus.
The $4.6 million facility, to be located on the western edge of the campus at the intersection of Temple Street and Brigham Road, will finally allow for infant care at the center — a long sought-after goal — in addition to the toddler and pre-school care and before- and after-school programs it has provided since it began operating in Thompson Hall in 1974.
“Our campus has worked for nearly eight years to secure a free-standing child care center that will accommodate infant care. It took a while to secure the resources, but our persistence paid off,” said President Hefner. “I am excited about the project, and very grateful for the support provided by Senator (Catharine) Young and Assemblymen (William) Parment and (Joseph) Giglio. They, along with Judy Metzger, the director of the Children’s Center, were wonderful partners in making this project a reality.”
Metzger, who has served as director since 1999, declared the new facility a win-win-win-win situation.
“It’s a win for the children at the center, a win for their families, a win for the campus and a win for the whole community,” she explained.
The center, which offers child care not only to campus employees and students, but to anyone within the greater Dunkirk/Fredonia community, will soon have an entire facility and grounds dedicated exclusively to its own programming and activities.
With 16,000 square feet of space, the new center will house a large, gross motor skills room (essentially a small gymnasium) to accommodate family activities as well as play activities when inclement weather limits access to outside playgrounds. It will also feature two infant rooms, two multi-age rooms, one toddler room, three observation rooms, administrative offices, a teacher planning room, a small kitchen and a lobby/receptionist area. A separate drop-off and pick-up point for parents will be accessible from Brigham Road.
The observation rooms are a significant new feature and will be highly beneficial for children and parents who have a difficult time initially leaving their child at the center.
“Separation anxiety for the youngest children can be a significant issue for parents,” Metzger explained. “This way they can feel comfortable knowing that their child is settled and content in class before they go off to classes or to work.”
The observation rooms will also be a valuable educational resource for students enrolled in programs such as Early Childhood Education and Communication Disorders and Sciences to accomplish some of their required field experience and other research. Similarly, faculty research will be enhanced due to the added capabilities these rooms will offer.
The center, which serves 150 to 175 children, operates early childhood and school-age programs. It is utilized as a training site for field experiences in Education, Sociology and Psychology by students from SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Community College. Half of those served come from the community; the remaining half is children of SUNY Fredonia students and staff, as well as other state employees.
“This center is such a tremendous point of pride for our campus,” President Hefner added. “Access to high-quality child care is a big issue for many of our employees as well as some students. To be able to provide them this level of care in a setting that is as convenient as it is effective really makes a tremendous impact on their quality of life.”
The new center is expected to be completed within 10 months and occupied in Spring 2010. It will also meet or exceed the requirements for a “Silver” rating from the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System for environmentally sustainable construction. All recent construction on campus has met or surpassed that standard.