Breaking Ground: New facility to increase program capabilities

PHOTO PROVIDED BY: Jason Hunter / SUNY Potsdam
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, left center, and SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg participate toss dirt in the air during a groundbreaking ceremony for SUNY Potsdam’s new Child Care Center.

By: Jake Newman

Child care at SUNY Potsdam is getting a serious update. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 15 to kick off the construction of a new 13,000-square-foot facility that will house the college’s child care center, meaning more space for children.

    SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center Director Lori J. Moulton said the new facility will have the layout, square footage and amenities the center requires.

    “Right now, we are housed in Merritt Hall at the college campus and we have made it work for our child care center, but a new child care center that is going to be built for child care is going to be excellent,” she said.

    The $6 million center, which will be all on one floor to help with ease of access, will include storage for strollers and car seats, a commercial kitchen for food preparation and new gross motor rooms for infants and toddlers.

    It will also feature seven classrooms specially designed for every age group served by the center, each with dedicated children’s bathrooms and special rooms as needed, such as sleeping spaces for infants, a changing area for toddlers, a project space for preschool-age children and a laundry area.

    New space has been added for offices and a break room for staff, and there will also be a library holding the center’s collection of children’s books, which will function as a board room and teacher planning and resource area.

    “Right now we share spaces so we have limited time the infants and toddlers can use the large motor space, but we are actually going to have the ability to have indoor large motor activity throughout the whole day,” Ms. Moulton explained. “It will be nice to have access to the kitchen so the children can do cooking projects and walk right across the hall for the cooks to put in the oven.”

    The new facility will also allow for a slight increase in capacity, from the current 98 to 105. If this increase occurs, it could mean up to two more teaching positions at the child care center.

    The program currently serves children ages 6 weeks to 9 years, but with the new facility Ms. Moulton said she hopes to expand programming to children up to 12. Ms. Moulton said she also hopes to attain funding for two additional outdoor playground structures, which will give the center a total of four outdoor play areas.

    The new facility is situated across from the Crane School of Music on outer Main Street. The new building’s location and floor plan will make accessing the center more convenient.

    “It is going to be easy access for the parents,” Ms. Moulton said. “Right now you need to go downstairs and then upstairs to get into the center which makes it harder for strollers and things like that.”

    “Parking will be better as well for parents because they will be able to come right over to the child care center and have parking that is for the child care center,” she added.

    Ms. Moulton said she anticipates the new facility will be completed next August.