Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00
Farmingdale State College’s President W. Hubert Keen welcomed approximately 100 guests on Oct. 11 who attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the campus’s Children’s Center, which will be relocated from its existing building. School officials, local politicians, and influential campus and community members gathered at the construction site entrance to symbolically break ground on what will be the new daycare facility.
“The new facility for our Children’s Center will benefit our students, faculty, and staff, and most importantly—the children,” said President Keen.
Senator Charles Fuschillo, Jr. and Assemblymen Bob Sweeney and David McDonough were in attendance to help show support for the exciting new developments happening at the SUNY campus.
“Farmingdale State College continues to grow, and this new childcare center is the latest step forward,” said Fuschillo, who helped secure state funding for the project. “I am pleased to have been able to assist Farmingdale State College in moving this important new project forward.”
Children’s Center Director Linda Crispi and current student Guisseppe Conigliaro offered their remarks and shared their excitement for the expansion and new structure that is being built to accommodate the growing number of staff, faculty, students, and local residents who have used the Children’s Center services for years.
Conigliaro, a full-time mechanical engineering student said, “The Children’s Center has done a good job of creating an environment where children can create and explore.” He said it’s comforting to know that his daughter is in a safe and comfortable place, being taken care of while he is working on his degree and even joked, “My three-year-old daughter and her 27-year-old father go to the same school.” He said the center already has a great staff, but having an indoor playground will be terrific.
Keen explained that research indicates that more than a quarter of undergraduates in the United States are parents. He said, “On-campus centers like ours lower the absentee rate of student-parents and increases the likelihood that they will graduate and gain employment.”
Crispi told Anton Community Newspapers that the majority of the students who are enrolled at the center are the children of members of the campus community. She said she hopes to be able to accommodate many more children, although the enrollment has been steady over the past couple of years.
“Being located on the Farmingdale campus means the children have access to beautiful gardens and facilities, as well as activities sponsored by the college,” said Crispi.
Approximately 40 children from the day care center were in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony. There are 68 children currently enrolled in the center, fluctuating slightly each semester, with the expectation that enrollment will grow once the new facility is completed.
The overall cost of the project is $7.5 million. Expected to open in the fall of 2013, the new 11,700 square foot Children’s Center will provide much-needed space to expand classrooms and provide an indoor playground for use during inclement weather. The center will feature two infant daycare rooms, three toddler rooms, four preschool rooms and a gross-motor room. It will also include staff office space, meeting rooms, and a kitchen.
Keen said that with the expansion, the campus anticipates offering more programming at the Children’s Center, including vacation care and an expanded summer camp program.
The contracting company for the project is Fratello Construction. Adama Collier, of D.W. Arthur Associations Architecture, Inc. is the building’s architect. Brian Clarke, a Farmingdale State College Class of 1999 alumni, of Hill International, Inc is the construction manager, and Lauri Seline and Kim Pomerantz are the chairs for the State University Construction Fund.