by Kathy Hedges
SOCORRO, N.M., Oct. 11, 2006 – New Mexico Tech is in the early stages of planning a new Children’s Center, thanks to planning money donated by Bill Macey, a longtime benefactor of the university and member of the Class of 1942. Plans call for the center to be named after Macey’s late wife, Jean Macey.
The donation was announced by Cheryl Pulaski, Director for Advancement for New Mexico Tech, and Louise Chamberlin, Director of Auxiliary Services, which oversees the Children’s Center.
“We have long needed a new Children’s Center,” says Chamberlin. “We want to be able to serve more children, and we need an improved facility for some of the professional certifications we would like to get.”
New Mexico Tech’s current Children’s Center serves 26 children, none of whom are infants. According to Chamberlin, “In order to serve infants, we need facilities we don’t presently have, such as changing tables.”
New Mexico Tech has contracted with Greer Stafford SJCF, an Albuquerque- and Wichita-based architectural firm, to begin planning the new facility. The center will be expandable, with the facilities for toddlers and preschoolers built first and the infant center added on later. Ideas include:
- a welcoming entry way and reception area, where children’s artworks can be displayed;
- a motor play classroom where children can play energetically if it is too cold, hot, or wet to go outside;
- a mud room where children can engage in water play and other messy activities;
- an outdoor play area with sand, grass, and dirt surfaces for swings and other equipment, as well as a paved area for tricycles and scooters;
- a garden where children can grow plants and observe nature; and
- low windows and child-sized doors and bathrooms.
Adults won’t be left out of the picture, either. Some of the facilities accommodating parents and teachers will be:
- a parent resource area;
- a staff work room, where staff can do planning and paperwork and hold conferences with parents;
- an observation area where parents can watch children at play;
- an area where parents can feed their infants;
- a staff break room, kitchen, and bathroom; and
- a storage area for teaching supplies.
The building will also be an environmentally sensitive building which will meet the criteria of LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™. LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. According to Chamberlin, “This will be the first LEED-certified building in a state university in New Mexico – a big feather in Tech's cap.”
A location for the new center has not yet been selected.
According to Pulaski, “We are very grateful to Bill Macey for providing the initial money for this project. It is to be emphasized that this is just planning money, and we will also need to raise money to build the building.”
Last year, New Mexico Tech started an endowment to sustain the operations of the Children’s Center. This endowment, the Children’s Center Support Fund, received donations from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Bill Macey, as well as private donors.
The new fund, the Children’s Center Building Fund, will be for planning and building the new facility. New Mexico state law does not permit state funds to be used for the building.
Donations to either the Support Fund or the Building Fund may be sent to:
Attn: Cheryl Pulaski, Director for Advancement
New Mexico Tech
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, N.M. 87801
Please indicate on the memo line of the check which fund you are donating to.