SOCORRO, N.M. May 2, 2012 – New Mexico Tech will officially cut the ribbon at the new Macey Family Children’s Center. The university invites the local community to the special occasion at 2 p.m. Friday at the new center.

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 A handful of children helped break ground for the new Macey Family Children's Center in Octobe 2010. Children will help cut the ribbon at 2 p.m. Friday.

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The new $1.5 million center was purpose-built as a children’s educational center, serving pre-school youngsters age 2, to 5. University president and Bill and Cheryl Macey, the namesakes and primary donors, will speak briefly. Then, youngsters from the center will help cut the ribbon.

Many community members have donated to the fund, including former students, former parents, faculty members and local residents.

“All of this would not have been possible but for all the generous individuals who donated to the building fund, but most particular, our strong benefactors, Bill and Cheryl Macey,” university President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez said. “The Maceys pledged to match all other donations, plus supplied start-up funding and capital. Without that sort of undying support, we wouldn’t be ready to build such a great facility.”

Bill Macey graduated from New Mexico School of Mines in 1942. He has been New Mexico Tech’s staunchest supporter over the years. He donated more than $1 million for the construction of the Macey Center in the 1980s. Macey has also staked matching funds for other donations for the construction of a new Children’s Center. Mr. Macey also supports Tech’s highest academic award, the Macey Scholarship, which is a highly-competitive $5,000 award given to four Tech students each year.

The new Center has 6,000 square-feet of indoor space and 9,142 square-feet of outside area. The Center will also increase its capacity from 32 to 48 children.

The New Mexico Tech Children’s Center is the only full-time year-round children’s center in the county. The new facility will allow the Center to become a five-star accredited facility, said Children’s Center Director Ann Sullivan.

The Children’s Center first opened its doors in 1971 on a shoestring budget thanks to a core group of New Mexico Tech faculty parents. The first center was neither accredited nor licensed, but it served the needs of faculty parents.

In the late 1970s, the facility moved to a duplex on Tech hill. In the early 1980s, the Children’s Center moved again, this time to its current location, which had been a residence.

Since then, the building has been renovated and added on to, so as to better serve the needs of children and their parents. However, with this new building, Tech will finally have a Children’s Center that is built specifically for this need. Throughout the years, the Tech Children’s Center has taken a unique approach to educating youngsters.

“Children leave our Center and are fully prepared for kindergarten – not because we give them classroom-style learning – but because we let them play,” Sullivan said. “Our graduates know their numbers, letters and colors. They also know how to play well with others. All our activities are interactive. We have no DVD players, no TVs and no computers. Our playground doesn’t have traditional equipment. We have what we call loose parts. Our children play with blocks, containers, pots, pans, crates and other movable parts. They build things. They work cooperatively. New Mexico Tech prides itself on its hands-on practical education. At the Children’s Center, we pride ourselves on the same thing.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech