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SUNY Potsdam Breaks Ground on $6 Million Child Care Center

August 15, 2017

Assemblywoman Addie A. E. Jenne, left and SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg toss dirt in the air during a groundbreaking ceremony for SUNY Potsdam's new Child Care Center on Outer Main Street in Potsdam.

With crews busy at work in the background, SUNY Potsdam staff and community members celebrated the start of construction on the College’s newest facility, a brand-new Child Care Center building, today.

It was a day long in the making for SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center Director Lori Moulton, who remembered sketching out her own hand-drawn “blueprints” for renovating the existing facility years ago. Now, she has been an integral part of the process of designing the new building.

“I have enjoyed deciphering the large roll of official blueprints. I can see where the preschool children will have a project area, how the school age program will now have their own room. It is super exciting to see the doors leading directly from the classrooms to the playground spaces,” Moulton said. “I look at the layout of the commercial kitchen, the library resource area, the adjoining food prep areas in the infant and toddler rooms, large motor spaces and the natural color scheme, and I can’t wait to see the final outcome.”

In its new location on Outer Main Street across from The Crane School of Music, the 13,000-square-foot SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center building will offer easy access for busy parents to drop off and pick up their children without driving through campus. The new facility will 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. The new facility will have a slight increase in capacity as well.

“The new SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center will be a welcoming space designed to accommodate the needs of our littlest campus constituents. We are so proud to see this project come to fruition, and hope that this space will support the youngest members of our community and help foster the next generation of our Potsdam family,” said SUNY Potsdam President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg.

Assemblywoman Addie A. E. Jenne, who secured the $6 million funding for the project, spoke at the ceremony. Jenne recalled how she learned of the importance of supporting working parents and nontraditional students through childcare, when her own mother began taking courses at SUNY Potsdam when she was 11 years old, and accompanied her to campus.

“Childcare is an investment in our future. It’s an integral part of our economy. Our economy doesn’t work if you don’t have a safe, reliable, high-quality place to leave your child while you’re working, so you can focus on your job.” Assemblywoman Jenne said. “We’re taking care of our kids for today, but we’re training our workforce for tomorrow, and that is extremely important for the long-term health of our region.”

Gina Norrell ’17, who majored in speech communication at the College, spoke about the positive impact that the SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center had on her life, as the staff cared for her son, Kristofer, as she attended classes.

“The single most important factor in my success at SUNY Potsdam was the trustworthy and reliable childcare that I was blessed with at the SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center,” Norrell said. “When Lori informed me that Assemblywoman Jenne had secured the funding for a new building for the center, I was beyond thrilled. The teachers and staff provide an incredible environment for the children and parents in the space they’re in right now, but I can only imagine what growth will be achieved in this beautiful new center.”

Norrell’s son Kristofer, 7, brought his trusty sidekick, a stuffed animal aptly named Penguin, to the groundbreaking ceremony, so that he could help move the first tiny shovelful of dirt. Joining him to represent the children who will benefit from the center was eight-month-old Raelynn Gushea, who also happens to be Moulton’s granddaughter.

In addition to the classroom spaces, the new SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center will also have separate outdoor gross motor skills play areas for the different age groups, as well as two indoor play areas. One room is set aside for storing strollers and car seats, with easy outdoor access. The center will feature a commercial kitchen for preparing nutritious meals and a food prep area for infants. There will be an inviting reception space and a waiting area for parents. Staff will benefit from office space and a break room. 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.

The new SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center facility was designed by Architectural Resources PC, and the general contractor for the project is Bette & Cring LLC.

The SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center serves children of SUNY students, faculty and staff, as well as the community at large. Founded in 1990, the center is based on the philosophy that each child has unique, individual needs and developmental patterns. Experiences planned for the children promote the positive development of emotional, social, intellectual and physical/motor abilities. Curriculum planning focuses on each child's need to grow and enhances the development of a positive self-image.

Students in SUNY Potsdam’s childhood, early childhood, literacy and community health programs are able to apply their learning through internships and classroom assignments with the Child Care Center, as are students from other disciplines and high school students in the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES program.

To learn more, visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit


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