The Pierce College Foundation will host dedication ceremonies at 3 p.m. March 8 at the Fort Steilacoom campus for the $2.4 million Milgard Child Development Center.
Designed with input from the college’s early childhood education faculty, the center will be part of the hands-on training opportunities provided in the associate degree programs related to early childhood education.
Michael Koetje, director of child development centers for the Pierce College District, second from right, recently helped move items into the new Milgard Child Development Center at the college’s Fort Steilacoom campus. The center will be dedicated at 3 p.m. March 8. Others who assisted with the move-in, from left, are Genki Otaki, a graduate of the Early Childhood Education Program at Pierce; Patty Nelson, director of student development at the Puyallup campus who is assisting with the center opening; and Mark Turpin who is working on the center’s outdoor classrooms.
The dedication program will include remarks by James Washam, retired KeyBank president who was co-chair of the foundation’s Campaign for Childcare with Jerry Korum, president of the Korum Automotive Group. Also on the program will be Michele L. Johnson, Ph.D., chancellor of the Pierce College District; and John Simpson, a student who will use the center to care for his three children while he is pursuing his education at Pierce.
Following the dedication, faculty and staff will conduct tours of the 10,000 square-foot-facility which has the capacity for 72 children from infants through age 5. Project architect was MBA; contractor was Absher Construction with project management provided by the Abbey Road Group.
Featuring a Northwest design, the center was constructed with a combination of public and private funding sources. These include a $500,000 state matching grant, $300,000 from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, $200,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and donations of $100,000 from James and Carolyn Milgard, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and in-kind gifts from Absher Construction. Classrooms will be named for the late Athyleen Nicholson who was an instructor at the college, KeyBank, Jerry and Germaine Korum, Steve and Joane Moceri, Waste Connections, Inc., Don and Audrey Thomas and Harold LeMay Enterprises.
“The Campaign for Childcare was the largest fund-raising effort undertaken by the foundation in its 14-year history,” noted Cherry Tinker, foundation executive director.
Besides funding the majority of the construction costs for the Milgard Center, the campaign also supported the Garnero Child Development Center at Pierce College Puyallup to be dedicated on April 24.
Dr. Johnson said, ” We are extremely grateful to the state legislature and the community for supporting our efforts to make available accessible, affordable, quality childcare to the more than 30 percent of the students in our district who are parents.”