The Child Development Center, located on Poplar Grove Road near campus. Click on the image for a full view. Photo by Marie Freeman
The Child Development Center expansion is one of several major construction projects underway at Appalachian State University to enhance the Appalachian Experience.
The project supports the strategic plan of Appalachian and the university’s goals and metrics associated with the University of North Carolina System’s strategic plan. It will benefit students and academics.
Plans are underway to increase capacity of the Child Development Center (CDC), which serves the university’s faculty, staff and students.
Part of the Division of Student Affairs, the CDC offers high-quality, affordable care to 68 children and has a current waitlist of nearly 100 families. The expansion will increase the total number served and address needs that are not being met by the existing program.
Chancellor Sheri Everts said the university recognizes the importance of child care in recruiting and retaining highly qualified faculty, staff and students, and for allowing students to continue their education as they raise and expand their families. The center’s operations are funded by sliding scale fees based on the income of the parents and families of the children.
A map of the expanded Child Development Center. Image courtesy of Clark Nexsen
A rendering of the building’s expansion. Image courtesy of Clark Nexsen
A design selection committee worked through the fall 2018 semester soliciting proposals from possible design firms and conducting interviews. The committee’s final selection, Clark Nexsen of Asheville, was approved by Appalachian’s Board of Trustees Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Clark Nexsen concluded a feasibility study recommending a best course of action to university leadership in June 2019.
After considering the report, the university planned to add a 3,000-square-foot, pre-fabricated building with a fixed foundation to the existing site on Poplar Grove Road and renovate the current building — changes that would allow the facility to accommodate an additional 40-50 children. Associated site work was to consist of a new drop-off area, parking, sidewalks and exterior playground space. Site preparation began with the boring of soil samples in January 2020.
Zoning and annexation into the Town of Boone were approved in fall 2020, and MBI Builders LLC was signed as contractor in February 2021. The project is experiencing permitting and materials delays, extending the anticipated construction completion date to spring 2022. Once the construction phase is completed, the process for obtaining stringent inspections and additional permits required for child care certification will begin.
The center will be licensed for 55 additional children. The design will add five additional classrooms, a kitchen, laundry facilities and additional parking and sidewalks around the new and existing buildings.
How is it funded?
The UNC Board of Governors has approved the expenditure of $2.57 million in university operating funds for the total project.
Who will benefit?
Primarily, the campus community, as more students, faculty and staff will have access to high-quality, affordable child care through the university.
A recent assessment by Wellness and Prevention Services indicated an increasing number of students have dependents and need additional support, such as child care options, to thrive at Appalachian. Most of these student-parents do not have family support nearby, according to the Child Development Center’s director, Moriah Stegall.
Secondly, the larger community may benefit as slots in local child care facilities become available as a result of the increased accommodation by the CDC.
How does it support UNC System Goals and Metrics?
An enhanced campus designed with students, faculty, staff and the public in mind supports recruitment and retention of all members of the university and local communities.
Major current projects:
An aerial view of areas receiving millennial campus designation at Appalachian State University. Video by Marie Freeman