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Campus dedicates $4.6 million Campus and Community Children’s Center
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ribbon cutting for Day Care Center
Several children enrolled at the Campus and Community Children’s Center lend a hand – and their scissors – to the ribbon-cutting ceremony which officially dedicated the new facility at the corner of Temple Street and Brigham Road on the SUNY Fredonia campus. 

The 16,000-square-foot facility meets requirements for a silver rating from the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System for environmentally sustainable construction. It also allows the center to begin offering infant care for the first time.  

When touring the new Campus and Community Children’s Center at SUNY Fredonia, one thing is immediately clear: this beautiful facility was designed with children’s needs at the forefront.

From small square windows approximately one foot off the ground overlooking colorful gardens to miniature toilets and sinks, there’s no question that kids come first around here.

Thus, as campus, community and government officials gathered Thursday to celebrate the dedication of the new center, it was only fitting that a handful of preschoolers took the lead in the ribbon cutting — with child-sized safety scissors, of course.

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new era in child care here in our community,” said SUNY Fredonia President Dennis L. Hefner, who led a group of dignitaries in a larger ribbon-cutting behind the younger stars of the show.

“This wonderful structure finally gives our community’s families and children the innovative facilities and valuable added space they have long deserved to go along with the high-quality personal care they have been receiving for decades.”

Located at the western edge of campus at the corner of Temple Street and Brigham Road, the terra cotta and cream-colored building, with lots of glass to capture sunlight, is surrounded by play areas. Special care was also taken to remove as few of the beautiful trees as possible surrounding the site, as the center prides itself on its outdoor play policy which includes the exploration of nature.

In fact, the outdoor space had an immediate impact on New York State Senator Catharine Young (57th District), who said that she immediately smiled as she saw all of the children having fun in the new playground. She added how important it is for working parents to know they have access to quality child care, and how pleased she was to see this investment in the community, in the university and in the region’s children.

Ground was officially broken 14 months ago for the new center – with youngsters donning miniature hard hats and wielding plastic sand shovels and miniature earth movers.

The $4.6 million facility, including design and construction, allows for infant care at the center — a long sought-after goal — in addition to the toddler and pre-school care it has provided to student parents, community members, and campus employees since it began operating in Thompson Hall in 1974. The center will also continue to run before and after-school programs and a University Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) Extension program in Fredonia Central School district rooms.

With 16,000 square feet of space, the new center houses a small gymnasium to accommodate family activities, therapies, and active play when inclement weather limits access to outside playgrounds. It features two infant rooms, two multi-age rooms, a toddler room, three observation rooms, administrative offices, a teacher planning room, small kitchen, and a small group meeting area for all center music and extended projects. A separate drop-off and pick-up point for parents — a new and long-sought-after feature — is accessible from Brigham Road, and numerous safety and security elements have been incorporated too.

The observation rooms are another long-sought-after feature and highly beneficial for children and parents alike.

“Separation anxiety for the youngest children can be a significant issue. By utilizing the observation rooms, parents can feel comfortable knowing that their child is settled and content in a ‘home away from home’ setting,” Center Director Judy Metzger noted.

These rooms are also a valuable educational resource for SUNY Fredonia students enrolled in such programs as Early Childhood Education and Communication Disorders and Sciences to accomplish some required field experience and other research. Similarly, faculty research will be enhanced due to the added capabilities these rooms will offer. The center will also be utilized as a training site for field experiences for students studying sociology, psychology and education at SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Community College.

The new center also meets requirements for a “Silver” rating from the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System for environmentally sustainable construction. Patrick Development Company of East Amherst was the general contractor for the project. Buffalo-based Flynn Battaglia Architects designed the facility, which included sub-consultant engineering by Pathfinder Engineers and Architects, of Rochester, N.Y., for mechanical, electrical and plumbing, and Tolman Engineering as sub-contractor for civil engineering site work.

Assemblyman William Parment (150th District) said that this project was the result of a great deal of persistence and hard work of a lot of people, and commended President Hefner, Ms. Metzger and her team for their eight-plus years of planning to make this project a reality. Assemblyman Joseph Giglio (149th District) concurred, adding that the campus continues to be a shining light in the region, and he commended its forward thinking and progressive leadership.

As part of its transition to adding infant care to its offerings, the center is hosting nationally known author and infant/toddler specialist Beverly Kovach, M.N., for a week-long training series. Ms. Kovach has been working with and consulting in early childhood centers for more than 30 years and is the co-author of the book, "Being with Babies," a respected reference within the industry. She serves on the board of the Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) Center in Los Angeles, and is a Montessori teacher trainer, a consultant trainer, and a regular presenter at both national and international conferences.

Other area officials attending the center’s dedication included Thomas Carpenter, representing Governor David Paterson’s Office, County Executive Greg Edwards, Village of Fredonia Mayor Michael Sullivan, City of Dunkirk Mayor Richard Frey, Fredonia College Council Chair Frank Pagano, and many others.

The Campus and Community Children’s Center serves children and families throughout the Northern Chautauqua region, with as many as 40 to 50 percent of its enrollees having no connection to SUNY Fredonia whatsoever. Another 20 to 25 percent are the children of current Fredonia students.

“The partnership with the campus allows for utilization of shared services that benefit all. Center personnel, local families, campus personnel and college students will all enjoy the professional educational opportunities the new center will provide for years to come,” Ms. Metzger added.

To inquire about enrollment availability for the new center, which now serves children from eight weeks of age up through age 5, please call (716) 673-4662.


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