By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer
The decision of paying for good day care or attending college is a heavy burden for many young families. But with the grand opening this month of Mount San Antonio College’s $18.5 million child development center, the school is helping hundreds of students bridge the gap.
“Childcare is sometimes the biggest barrier for people who want to return to college and continue their education,” said Tamika Addison, the center’s director.
The four-building complex will serve more than 210 families every semester. That’s up from the 160 the old daycare center could handle. Still, there’s a waiting list of 150.
“The new and improved CDC allows us to increase the number of CalWORKS, community and faculty families we can serve,” Addison said. “It is giving more parents the opportunity to continue their education and be away from their child, knowing that they are safe and learning in a quality environment.”
The 33,800-square-foot complex will provide quality childcare for 162 children. It serves children from infants to 5 years old.
The state-of-the-art facility offers unique perspectives, from the windows installed at toddler height to the low snack counters in each class.
To change a diaper, just roll out the built-in steps to allow the child to climb up onto the new changing tables. Then use the special chute that dumps the soiled diapers into an outside closet.
“We wanted to use natural materials and colors in the construction because research shows that primary colors excite children,” said architect Mikaela Klein, who helped design the center. She is now a Mt. SAC facilities planner.
But it’s the little touches that stand out. Like the tack strip that replaces the usual chair rails, giving teachers a chance to hang the kid’s artwork at their eye level. Or the small, private alcoves scattered throughout the center, giving excitable children a quiet place to calm down.
Read more in Rich Irwin’s story CHILD.