Much-Anticipated Child Care Center Construction Under Way
Construction of the long-awaited Northwest Child Care Center (NWCCC) continues to move forward after a fall 2015 groundbreaking. The project is set for completion in spring 2017, when the Office of Research Services child care team, led by Tonya Lee, will start facility operations and receive the first children.
The team currently operates 3 other centers, both on and off campus. The new facility will replace the smallest of these centers while also increasing overall capacity by approximately 125 children. Upon completion, the NWCCC will house 170 children between the ages of 6 weeks to 5 years, as well as 40 staff members.
The project has been in the works since 2008. During a long planning period, the building was slated for several different lots on campus before the current site was chosen at the corner of Center and Convent Drives. This location provides convenient access to parents who work in the Clinical Center and is adjacent to both the NIH Fire Station and the Children’s Inn.
Design elements include a parking lot with pervious pavement, a green roof, LED lighting fixtures and water-efficient toilets and sinks. It is tracking for a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The playground will have many natural play structures and products designed to encourage creative play while being sensitive to ecological concerns.
The most prominent exterior design feature is a tall bell tower, whose operable bell can be rung by children on special days like birthdays. There will also be a wide sidewalk with benches and landscaping features in front of the facility that will allow space for outdoor play as well as additional outdoor seating for the NIH community.
Early construction efforts have focused on earthwork, stormwater structures and a large retaining wall. Workers are currently completing the building foundation in preparation for steel erection and the installation of the exterior “skin”—brick, windows and roof. Over the summer, construction will transition to interior work.
Another project in support of the NWCCC has also started—construction of a utility tunnel to serve this part of campus. The effort will restrict the roadway at the intersection of Center Dr. and Convent Dr. to two bi-directional lanes for several months.