A Grand Opening and Dedication of the new 13,000 square foot Early Learning Center at Tacoma Community College (TCC) will take place at 3 p.m. on Oct. 21. Tours will be available until 5 p.m.
Serving children from one month to five years old, the new center has space for 86 children, which nearly doubles the previous capacity for child care on campus. The center provides a welcoming, child-friendly environment for learning and play. Children of TCC students are admitted on a full-time or part-time basis, with an income-based sliding scale fee structure that is subsidized by TCC’s Associated Students. Eighty percent of the children who use the center qualify for free or reduced school lunches, and their parents need affordable child care in order to attend college. A limited number of spaces are also available for the children of faculty and staff. The new center has already reached enrollment capacity.
The building was designed to meet the stringent Gold Standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, administered through the Green Building Council. The Early Learning center combines sustainable design with aesthetic appeal and utilitarian function. Sustainable design features include 30 percent water use reduction; 75 percent diversion of construction waste materials; and optimal energy performance.
The new Early Learning Center allows the college to expand its early learning education opportunities for students. Educational programs connected to the center include a partnership with the Department of Early Learning to provide training and college credit for local day care providers, and a partnership program with Lesley University in which TCC provides the first two years of training toward a four-year degree. “The new building provides a link to the community through the training we do here,” says TCC President Pamela Transue.
The new building includes a classroom designed to serve children aged 12-18 months, an age group which the old center was not equipped to handle. It also provides a kitchen scaled for the number of meals provided by the center and spaces for parent conferences and curriculum planning. The interior design carries over into the outdoor play space, which includes a covered area for use during inclement weather.
The $6.6 million project includes $1 million in capital funds from the state of Washington, matched by local donations secured through the efforts of the TCC Foundation. The new Early Learning Center is named after Annette Weyerhaeuser.
Funding includes the largest anonymous gift in the history of the TCC Foundation. The TCC Associated Students are providing funds over several years that total more than $2 million. Many other contributions were received from individuals, foundations and companies throughout the region. The Foundation is preparing to launch the public phase of the Early Learning Center campaign to complete the funding for the center.
TCC’s new Early Learning Center was designed by McGranahan Architects of Tacoma. Construction was provided by Pease Construction, Inc.