Work begins on new children’s center at Colorado College

Colorado College has begun work on the new Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center, which will be located at 909 N. Nevada Ave., just slightly south of the Children’s Center’s current location at 931 N. Nevada Ave. Work is scheduled to be completed by late August.

The new facility will accommodate 58 children, from infants to preschoolers, nearly doubling the number of children currently enrolled in CC’s Children’s Center.  Construction of the Cheryl Schlessman Bennett Children’s Center is funded by a gift from the Schlessman family in memory of Cheryl Schlessman Bennett ’77, an education major who was passionate about children’s welfare.

The current center, located in a retrofitted house with confining interior spaces, cramped rooms, and numerous stairs, is less than ideal for young children, said Chris Coulter, director of facilities services. The new children’s center will have a long, low bungalow profile.  The single-story building will feature six classrooms, with two classrooms for each age group; a multipurpose room; library; snack area/kitchen; space for nursing mothers; and a teacher resource room. The children’s center will open to a grassy area to the east, away from Nevada Avenue. Outside features include a rubber soft-fall area, winding tricycle paths, and a community garden with planter beds for the children.

Sustainability features include hydronic radiant heat flooring in the infant spaces, numerous east-facing windows and dormers to allow ample ambient light into the classrooms; natural gas hydronic heating throughout the facility; dual ballast light switching and occupancy sensors; integration with the campus Building Management System for optimal indoor air quality and reduced energy consumption; all LED lighting, interior and exterior; high performance glass and window frames; and the inclusion of mechanical system commissioning including building envelope thermal imaging to insure the facility operates as intended. Total indoor square footage is 10,706, with 9,249 square feet of usable, ground floor space, Coulter said.

In order to accommodate the new building, two Colorado College-owned houses were demolished.  CC worked with Habitat for Humanity at the houses, located at 210 and 214 E. Cache la Poudre St., to salvage items such as windows, doors, mirrors, hardware, and other finish features to donate to ReStore, Habitat’s local resale outlet which sells reusable and surplus building materials to the public.

CC also worked with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, allowing them to use the buildings for fire drills prior to the buildings’ demolition.

The house at 901 N. Nevada Ave., is not going to be demolished.  The northern exterior walls have been removed, and the house will be completely renovated, with new construction attached to the northern face to expand the building and create the new Children’s Center.

The architectural and contractor firms working on the project are both local businesses.

The current Children’s Center will be converted into short-term housing for faculty and staff.

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