Mayra Escobedo / Roundup
With children singing and a ribbon cutting ceremony, the new Pierce College Child Development Center celebrated its grand opening today.
On hand for the celebration were three former presidents, the current one and the newly selected Pierce College president. Also in attendance were children from the previous Child Development Center and faculty and staff.
Interim President Dr. Joy McCaslin welcomed the attendees.
Speeches followed from Mona Field, president of the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), Dr. Tyree Wieder, interim chancellor for the LACCD and Kathleen Reiter-Vasquez, director of the Pierce College Child Development Center.
The center, which cost $10.2 million to build, is more than 13,000 square feet of enclosed space and 5,434 square feet of outdoor covered canopy areas.
It will be the first permanent building that the service will be in. It has been in trailers since its start 35 years ago.
The center boasts a nature-based yard that is the first of its kind. It has a bike path made of decomposed granite, with trees, swings and a secret garden.
According to Reiter-Vasquez, the decision to have the center be nature based was based on research that found that activities and interactions with nature and natural forms will help children in their learning.
The center is made up of six classrooms that have doors leading to outdoor play areas and observation rooms for students of the Child Development Program.
The classes have one-way mirrors to allow students to make more natural observations of the children.
McCaslin spoke about what the center meant to her and its benefits to the campus.
“[The center] is special to me because I was the vice president at the time it started [construction] and it was one of the buildings that I really wanted to happen,” she said. “Students who have preschool age children can bring their children here, which is very beneficial to our student parents.”
Reiter-Vasquez spoke about the importance of the center for children in particular.
“It allows [children] to have a quality start on their educational careers and to have new experiences that are phenomenal for them, their learning, creativity and to build on their ideas.”
She also explained that the new building offers teachers a better opportunity to do their work effectively.
The Child Development Center will open its doors to children, students and teachers in the fall semester.