Wesleyan University has begun the process of constructing a new home for Neighborhood Preschool (NPS), located at 60 Long Lane near the softball fields.
Work on the project, designed by Patriquin Architects of New Haven, began in December and should be complete by the end of 2022. The current facilities, located on Lawn Avenue and High Street, will be demolished to make way for the new science building.
“Our new NPS is a significant upgrade on our current facilities and will accommodate 52 youngsters in multiple classrooms and outdoor play yards. The approximately 7,000-square-foot facility was designed in consultation with a committee of faculty, staff, administrators, the staff at Neighborhood Preschool, and Alan Rubacha and his team, and we thank them for their work on this project,” said Nicole Stanton, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, and Ruth Johnson, new science building facilities liaison and associate professor of biology, in a statement to the Wesleyan community.
“We are very excited about the new day care! NPS has been a part of the Wesleyan community for so long and we are thrilled for this opportunity,” said Suzanne Donnelly, director of the Neighborhood Preschool.”The passion and creativity of our teachers is incredible. I can’t wait to see what the teachers have in store when we move into our new school. It’s going to be amazing.”
Alan Rubacha, director of construction and campus infrastructure, said that every aspect of the building—from the light fixtures to the playscapes—has been crafted with the safety and care of children in mind. All of the students will be in multiple classrooms in the building’s single floor, providing an open, inviting, and learning-rich environment that allows for independent play and exploration.
“One thing we are most looking forward to is being together. We will have two Infant/Toddler classrooms and two preschool classrooms all under one roof. Our building team designed beautiful open concept spaces to accommodate our programs and the children’s curious minds,” Donnelly said.
“We designed a building that would safely accommodate young children,” Rubacha said. “There is a sort of serendipity of the space that we have never had before. It will all be accessible.”
The fenced-in outdoor playscape, featuring slides, a climbing wall, a tower, and a suspension bridge placed over a safe wood fiber, allows for access to the Freeman Athletic Fields. “The location is particularly good,” Rubacha said.
In keeping with Wesleyan’s priorities in terms of sustainability, the building will be all electric, with solar panels on the roof of the building alleviating the need for any fossil fuel usage. Rubacha is working with Wesleyan’s grounds crew to create an aesthetically-pleasing landscape that will require minimal watering and chemical fertilizers.
“This is the way we are going with all of our projects,” Rubacha said.
Neighborhood Preschool has had a relationship with the university and had been using the High and Lawn street facilities since 1989. Over half of the current student population of 47 are affiliated with Wesleyan.
“NPS prides itself on its sense of community and the staff’s longevity. It is place where alumni come back and have such wonderful memories. We hope that is something our new building will bring for many years to come,” Donnelly said.
Additional renderings of the building are below: (courtesy of Patriquin Architects)