Work to begin this week on new Child Development Center building
St. Thomas this week will take the first step toward redevelopment of the two blocks bounded by Summit, Cleveland, Grand and Cretin avenues. While two new academic buildings and a student residential village are planned for these blocks, a smaller project will set the stage for the project’s first phase.
Demolition is scheduled to begin over the next few weeks on residences at 2123, 2125 and 2129 Grand Ave. – on the northwest corner of Grand and Finn Street – to make way for a new building that will house the Child Development Center and a residence for 17 St. Thomas students.
Demolition work is expected to take about a week, with site preparation and construction to begin immediately thereafter on an attractive two-story building. It will be completed next spring.
A groundbreaking celebration is planned from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15, on the south lawn of the Development Office house, 2120 Summit Ave. The UST community is welcome.
Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies, a construction, development and property management firm, will be the general contractor for the project. Work will be scheduled between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The construction site will be fenced, and no parking will be allowed on the project’s perimeter until completion next spring. All construction materials and equipment will be located on the site; that is, no separate “staging” areas will be needed for this project. Sidewalks on Grand and Finn adjacent to the site will be closed, and signs will be erected to redirect pedestrians. The contractors will make special efforts to minimize dust and to keep the area as clean as possible. Noise will be minimal and sporadic, as this building is fairly small and does not call for major excavation, drilling or pile driving.
If the project proceeds as scheduled, all excavation and footing work will be completed during September, and exterior wall panels will be delivered in early October.
Here’s what’s in store for the new building:
Child Development Center: On the main floor, 9,100 square feet are designated for the Child Development Center, which now cares for 66 children of students, faculty, staff and community families in Christ Child Hall on the St. Paul campus.
The center, which has more than 400 children on its waiting list, offers care and programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Because students’ children receive priority placement, the majority of those on the waiting list are children from the neighborhood and surrounding community. The new building may result in a licensing change in which the center could accommodate as many as 80 to 90 children, according to the center’s director, Becca Swiler. That, she said, would be good news for those on the waiting list.
The center’s new space will include a “nap room” and a “large-muscle” playroom along with two rooms for the care of 12 infants six weeks old to 17 months old; two classrooms for 18 young toddlers (17-30 months); two classrooms for 20 older toddlers (30-42 months); and two classrooms for 32 preschoolers (42 months-5 years old). A partial basement area will serve the center’s mechanical, electrical, kitchen, laundry, staff lounge and storage needs.
The Child Development Center’s main entrance will be located on Finn, where five to seven parking spaces on the west side of the street will be restricted for dropping off and picking up children. The main entrance to the student residence will be on Grand.
Student residence: The building’s second floor is planned as an apartment-style residence for 17 St. Thomas students. The university plans to establish a living-and-learning environment, offering residence priority to juniors and seniors who have internships, are student teachers or work in the Child Development Center. About 150 St. Thomas students work part time or volunteer at the center.
The residence floor will include six two-bedroom units, one four-bedroom unit, a studio apartment and a community room. Each unit will be fully furnished and offer high-speed Internet connections and cable. Rent, including all utilities and local phone service, will be comparable to other apartment-style housing at St. Thomas.
Other information: The building’s “footprint” will honor 25-foot setbacks from Finn, Grand and a private residence at 2133 Grand Ave. A small, fenced playground will be placed along the building’s west side.
When the new building is complete, the Child Development Center will move from its current location, Christ Child Hall on the southwest corner of Summit and Cleveland avenues. Christ Child Hall then will be demolished to make way for construction of a 75,000-square-foot business education building atop a 160-space underground parking garage. The business building and garage are scheduled to open in time for the 2006-2007 school year.