Families, children, faculty, staff and community members gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the brand-new SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center building today. The ceremony opened with a ribboncutting, featuring a chain of colorful construction paper links held aloft by children who attend the center.
“From the smiles we have seen, we know that this facility will impact generations to come,” said President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg. “It seems like just yesterday that we were standing here breaking ground, and now today, the Child Care Center is filled with children who are so excited by their new place to play and learn.”
Assemblywoman Addie A. E. Jenne, who secured the $6 million in funding for the project, got to do the honors and cut the “ribbon” along with campus officials, before attendees gathered for speeches, tours and refreshments. She remembered touring the old SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center, located in a renovated space in Merritt Hall, the oldest building on campus, years earlier with Director Lori Moulton.
“Lori had figured out how to have quality programming in a place that wasn’t designed for anything that she was doing. It was really remarkable, and to me, it was just like, she’s a North Country woman! She’s going to make do with what she’s got, and she’s going to make it the best,” Jenne said. “Well, it was time to give this program that space that it needs. … This community, this campus and your elected officials know that child care needs to be a priority—and it is.”
In its new location, at 185 Outer Main St., across from The Crane School of Music, the 13,000-square-foot SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center building offers easy access for busy parents to drop off and pick up their children without driving through campus. The newly opened facility features seven classrooms specially designed for every age group served by the center, as well as both outdoor and indoor play areas, a commercial kitchen, laundry area, stroller storage, reception space, parent waiting area, break room and library.
SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center Director Lori Moulton ’89 & ’95 wasn’t sure if she and the staff, or the children and their families, were more excited about the center’s new home.
“Thank you to the SPCCC staff for working so hard with packing, moving and setting up your new classrooms and kitchen to optimize our new space for learning and growing. The children have been very excited to see their new classrooms and to show their parents where they will learn and play,” Moulton said. “We will continue to provide high-quality care, and are now able to do so in a high-quality facility.”
She described in detail some of the enhancements and improvements that the new space offers, like separate indoor motor spaces for younger and older children; a new preschool project room; classroom doors and bathrooms that open directly onto the outdoor play spaces; central air, and much more. Moulton also shared that playground structures with a rubber poured-in-place play surface and shade canopies will be added outside, in the last phase of the project.
Following the ceremony, guests and families gathered to enjoy refreshments and to take tours of the new facility, peering in the glass doors of the classrooms and stopping in to say hello to the youngsters about to be picked up for the day.
“It does my heart good to see the children here in this beautiful new facility. It’s the best thing,” said SUNY Potsdam College Council Chair June F. O’Neill, Hon. ’99. “Education is our foundation here at SUNY Potsdam, and you know what? We have some future Potsdam Bears here in the crowd here today.”
The new SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center facility was designed by Architectural Resources PC, and the general contractor for the project was Bette & Cring LLC.
About the SUNY Potsdam Child Care Center:
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 http://www.potsdam.edu/faculty/spccc.
About SUNY Potsdam:
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 3,600 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 www.potsdam.edu.