Lehman makes more room for students with families


On Sept. 26, Jaci Maurer watched as construction crews began assembling a 12,000-square-foot facility on Goulden Avenue that will allow the Lehman College Child Care Center to double its enrollment and serve dozens of student parents on its waiting list. 

Ms. Maurer, the center’s director, said the project has been discussed for a decade and that seeing the first crane deposit the first of 26 steel and concrete building units nearly brought tears to her eyes.

“I just can’t believe it’s actually here. The teachers are very excited. The kids, it’s great for them to watch, but I don’t think they really understand that in a few months this is where we’re going to be,” Ms. Maurer said. “Maybe the reason we’re waiting this long for it is so that we would have a really fabulous setup.”

This January, Lehman will open the $6.3 million building to 140 children. 

Last week, Axis Construction crews began stacking the modules, which were built offsite in Ephrata, Pa. to prevent weather delays, into the two stories that will soon host six classrooms and a multipurpose play area between Davis and Shuster halls.

Skylights will brighten the rooms. Children will be able to learn about the vertical greenery growing outside their classrooms on the east and west sides of the building. Next to a traditional playground, a “natural playground” will offer students a chance to play among boulders, plants and a garden.

Ms. Maurer said she’s particularly excited that the building will include a space for parents to work on homework or spend time with their children on campus, which is a “huge stress reliever” for parents enrolled in afternoon and evening classes.

In 1971, Lehman was one of the first City University of New York schools to open a childcare center. It moved to a bigger facility in 1985 and by the early 90s, the college was eyeing a new building. But more than one version of the plan did not clear bureaucratic hurdles, Ms. Maurer said.

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