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 or being planned over the next three to five years 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 permitting applications are underway.
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:
- Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research
- Appalachian 105
- Residence halls
- Kidd Brewer Stadium — North End Zone
- Child Development Center Expansion
- Sanford Hall
- Arts Corridor
- Wey Hall
- Boone Creek Daylighting
Capital projects at Appalachian continue, as Gov. Roy Cooper’s March 27, 2020, stay-at-home order considers construction, specifically for housing and on government property, as an essential business activity. For employee safety, contractors are taking protective measures against the coronavirus.
Construction at App State continues because:
• Discontinuing projects would severely impact project costs to the state, requiring more money to re-start an abandoned project and increasing the risk of material delays and some subcontractors going out of business.
• The new residence halls being built under a public-private partnership constitute a ground lease, whereby a private developer has created a timeline and is managing the construction privately. The financial feasibility of the project is based on a specific timeline tied to the academic year.
• In other construction on campus, bond money was approved by Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian has a fiduciary responsibility to execute construction in the shortest time possible. And, much like a homeowner building a new home with a construction loan, the university is already making payments on the project.
An aerial view of areas receiving millennial campus designation at Appalachian State University. Video by Marie Freeman