SAHEC to Open Child Care Facility in January

Construction photo - From left are Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall; Judy Buck, director of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center; and Paul Heron of Sides Construction Co.

From left are Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall; Judy Buck, director of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center; and Paul Heron of Sides Construction Co.(view larger image)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Aug. 12, 2005 – Sikeston residents can clearly see change on the horizon at the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center (SAHEC). That change, which allows residents to see first-hand their dollars at work, takes the form of a 10,800-square-foot expansion, a portion of which will serve as SAHEC’s new child care center.

“Sikeston residents can be proud of their investment in SAHEC and the ongoing growth and expansion that is currently in progress,” said Judy Buck, director of SAHEC. “The community’s continued support of the center by voting for additional funding for the expansion is very much appreciated by students and by Southeast Missouri State University.”

The child care center, which will open in January 2006, will not only offer child care to SAHEC students, but also to the public, according Buck. “I am so excited about the addition of the child care center at the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center,” she says. “The centers are all about helping students. The child care center is one more way that Southeast is reaching out to help students in their service region get a quality education. The day care center will be a licensed center and will enable more students to enroll in classes at the center. The children will be close to their parent(s) while the student attends class, so it will give the student and the child a more secure feeling knowing they are close to one another. The parent will be able to check on the child at any time,” Buck added.

The benefits of the child care center will be two-fold, according to Dr. Paula King, chair of Southeast’s Department of Human Environmental Studies. King is overseeing the development of the new center.

“In addition to serving students who need child care during classes and community residents who need child care, the center also will provide experiential learning opportunities for SAHEC students,” she says.

Buck is excited about this additional benefit as well.

“Students who are seeking degrees in early child care and guidance will have a convenient location to work with children of all ages to earn credit toward degree completion,” she said. “It will be economical and convenient for students and parents. It is simply a win, win opportunity.”

The two-story addition will increase the size of the current 33,000-square-foot SAHEC facility by approximately one-third, according to Tom Hadler, project manager with Southeast’s Facilities Management. The child care portion will consume 3,000 square feet, he said, while the remaining 7,800 square feet will be used for additional classroom and office space. An additional 1,800 square feet of existing space also is being renovated for a science lab.

The child care center will have three classrooms, Hadler said.

“The classrooms will be designed to accommodate three different age groups, but exactly how the space will be divided up is yet to be determined,” he said. “It will be based on public demand.”

Hadler says the center will also feature 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.

“The entrance will be very controlled,” he said. “It will be a separate entrance from the primary SAHEC entries.”

Additional highlights will include an observation room for parents and for students doing observations as well as a 3,000-square-foot fenced playground area with both hard-surfaced and grass areas, according to Hadler.

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

Construction photo - from left are Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall; Judy Buck, director of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center; and Paul Heron of Sides Construction Co.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 12, 2005  From left are Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall; Judy Buck, director of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center; and Paul Heron of Sides Construction Co. reviewing construction documents for the new child care center under construction at the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center (SAHEC).(view larger image)