On Monday Nov. 10, the Helen Gordon Child Development Center hosted a grand opening celebration in honor of its new expansion. The celebration included general information, program tours and refreshments. The center plays an important role in the advancement of child care and development and is expanding rapidly. It is currently in the preliminary stages of a renovation that will begin in March and be finished in September.
Since the opening of the child care program in 1971, the center has grown from a small group of student mothers to a fully operational childcare center that offers space for upwards of 225 families. The $3.5 million expansion added new playrooms and classrooms for the center, making it possible to accommodate more families.
The role that the center plays is of dual purpose. The center offers not only a high quality daycare program for students and faculty, but serves equally as an academic laboratory resource giving students and teachers of early childhood care and other related fields a chance to interact in a hands-on format.
This technique trains students to work with young children and serve as model teachers. In addition to the professional staff, each classroom has a number of PSU student employee assistant teachers helping to carry out the goals of the program.
The program originally offered programs from 18 months to 5 years old. As a result of the expansion the program now offers both a certified kindergarten program, and a six to 18 month infant program.
The Helen Gordon Building was originally built in 1921 by the Fruit and Flower Mission, another organization involved with childcare. The Helen Gordon Center was originally located in Smith Memorial Student Union and moved to the Fruit and Flower building in 1973. The building was renamed the Helen Gordon Center in 1974.
The transformation of the center is apparent just from walking in the front doors. Stepping from 1921 to 2003 in a matter of feet reveals a natural timeline of the building. From used, worn walls to fresh paint, the expansion stands out significantly as the next step in expanding the program. According to co-director Ellie Justice, “The expansion creates more opportunities for affordable childcare, which is essential for students who need to stay in school and take care of their families.”
The HGCDC is located at 1609 S.W. 12th. For more information, visit www.hgcdc.pdx.edu.