With the assistance of an eager group of preschoolers equipped with their own pint-sized shovels, Allan Hancock College broke ground on its Children’s Center Addition on August. 3.

The event kicked off the construction phase of the $6.5 million addition, which will consolidate all Early Childhood Studies facilities in one location.  College Superintendent/President José M. Ortiz, Ed.D., was the master of ceremonies and introduced guest speakers including Bernard Jones, president of the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees, and Adriana Foss, director of early childhood studies for the Orfalea Foundation, along with representatives from the Children’s Center Lab.

“This new addition will provide the best in early childhood education opportunities for our students while also making it possible to offer the highest quality of childcare,” said Thesa Roepke, director, Children’s Center Lab.

The 8,900 square-foot facility will feature new classrooms and labs and maximizes sustainable features, including recycled content, low emitting materials, lighting and environmental control systems and water-efficient landscaping.

A special feature of the new facility will be the renovated and redesigned outdoor environment following guidelines provided by the Outdoor Classroom Project, which is supported by the Orfalea Foundation.  The area will feature separate yards for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, each with a variety of natural features including open lawn, gardens, sand play, water features, plants and trees.

The project is being funded by Bond Measure I, which was passed by the electorate in 2006 to support facility and technology improvements at Allan Hancock College.  Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2012.