Ceremony Marks Grand Opening of SAHEC Expansion

Photo of Thursday's Ribbon Cutting.

Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins (first on the right), President of Southeast Missouri State University, and Judy Buck, (fourth on the right) Director of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center, lead the ribbon cutting for the new SAHEC Child Care expansion on Thursday.

SIKESTON, Mo.,

Jan. 26, 2006 – The Sikeston Area Higher Education Center (SAHEC) held a ceremony today, celebrating the opening of its 10,800-square-foot expansion that includes additional classroom and office space, a science laboratory and a new child care center.

Speaking at the event were Missy Marshall, executive director of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce; Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University; Edward C. Matthews III of Sikeston, Mo., a member of the Southeast Board of Regents; and Stephanie Campbell, a SAHEC student.

The two-story addition on the north end of the building increases the current size of the 33,000-square-foot SAHEC facility by approximately one-third, according to Tom Hadler, project manager with Southeast’s Facilities Management. A 3,000-square-foot child care center is part of the expansion. An additional 1,800 square feet of existing space also has been renovated for a science lab.

Judy Buck, director of SAHEC, says the addition features five classrooms and a science/computer lab, all of which will help serve SAHEC’s enrollment, which continues to grow. She says students began using the new classrooms Jan. 17 when the spring 2006 semester began.

Buck says the new science lab allows for additional lab courses to be offered this semester.

“Our science instructors are very pleased that we are now able to expand our science offerings,” she said. “I’m very excited about the expansion,” Buck added. “It has allowed us to expand our offerings to better serve the students in our area.”

The child care center, a portion of which is expected to open in February, will have three classrooms, five bathrooms, plus four additional sinks in the classrooms for sterilizing and hand washing, two changing stations, a sterilizing dishwasher, and a kitchen that prepares “plated” food (catered meals). The center will have its own reception and director’s office and its own entrance, Hadler said.

Additional highlights include a 3,000-square-foot fenced playground area with both hard-surfaced and grass areas, as well as an observation room for parents and for students doing observations, Hadler said.Dr. Paula King, chair of the Department of Human Environmental Studies at Southeast, said the new addition at SAHEC also allows for expansion of the child care center with more classrooms at a later date.

Total cost of the expansion is $2.18 million, which includes engineering and design, construction and furnishings, Hadler said. Construction work was done by Sides Construction Company from Jackson, Mo. Funding for the project came from an appropriated portion of a sales tax approved by Sikeston residents, according to Judy Buck, director of SAHEC.

King said the child care center likely will accommodate infants from 6 weeks old to children who are 5 years old. The center also is considering offering after-school care for elementary-age children, King said.

SAHEC also plans to allow part-time and full-time children at the child care center. Lab courses for University students who receive experiential learning opportunities in the center, will begin during the second half of the spring semester, King said.

She added, “We anticipate being licensed to hold 40 children at one time, but more children could be enrolled since some would be attending part time.”

Sara Garner is serving as interim director of the child care center.Applications for child care are being accepted on a first-come basis, and a waiting list is in effect. Applications are available at the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center office. Applications also are available for download (Adobe PDF format).