The Gary Schultz Child Care Center opened its doors yesterday for its first operating day as Penn State’s new sustainable childcare center.
The center is located at the corner of Allen and Park Road next to Hort Woods and already serves 70 children between the ages of six months to five years, Director of the Gary Schultz Child Care Center Linda Reichert said.
The building itself is certified as “platinum” in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building rating system Office of Physical Plant adopted to measure all new and renovated buildings.
“The building itself will demonstrate the sustainable lifestyle for the preschoolers that are attending,” OPP Spokesman Paul Ruskin said.
The building uses its own natural gas heating system that heats through sustainable cork flooring, he said.
“It’s perfect for children — the appropriate heating system for kids,” he said.
He said the building, built with recycled materials, features LED light emitting diodes “designed to harvest daylight,” a natural ventilation system that can be used, weather permitting.
Ruskin called the building “a living laboratory” for attending children because the curriculum will incorporate lessons about how the building works.
“It is getting the kids to think deeply — to begin to question where does electricity come from, where does the water come from,” he said. “Young kids are generally very interested in them.”
Currently, only Penn State employees’ children attend the center, but it is open to the community — although there is a waitlist, she said.
Reichert said the children are separated into two age groups, 0-3 and 3-5. So far, five preschool classrooms and three infant classrooms have been opened.
She said a goal of the center is to incorporate students from the College of Education, including music education and art education, into the center’s workings.
Already, interns from the Department for Human Development and Family Studies are involved in helping at the center.