REEDLEY – Nearly 20 months after breaking ground, the Reedley College’s new Early Childhood & Education building received a formal welcome from college officials and community members.
A mid-morning ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, Aug. 4 capped off the dedication of the $12.5 million, 20,000 square foot facility that features six classrooms, a lab classroom and 15 offices among its many features. The building, which broke ground in late November 2021, features six observation rooms, a staff lounge, food service area and staff workroom.
“We made it, we did it, we’re here,” said Marcy Davidson, instructor and department chair for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program, as those in attendance cheered her on. “It’s so exciting, it has been a journey for 20-plus years for the dream of this place to finally come true. There have been so many that have helped pave the way to get us here today.”
Rubisela Sanchez, coordinator of the ECE program, expressed the department’s excitement about its new ability to expand childhood services for the college’s student families, faculty and staff and the community.
“Our new space will allow our children in the program (access) to two infant classrooms, starting at six weeks, two toddler classrooms and two preschool classrooms,” she said. “Our new building will be filled with young children, teachers, educators and counselors who will love and nurture every child who comes here while mom and dad attend Reedley College classes or work.”
Liliana Gonzalez, a recent graduate of the ECE program, briefly spoke to dedication attendees while holding her toddler son in her arms. She shared about her six years of experience in the program, and how she took on added responsibilities as a classroom teacher for ECE in 2019.
“This building signifies the opportunity for growth and success in education for not only myself but Reedley College students,” she said. “This program has allowed me to attend my full time courses on campus, work as a student staff teacher, meet with my professors and counselors and attend tutoring sessions. It has allowed me to continue my recent college education and witness my son’s educational development of learning at the same time.
“I hope that the same positive impact is given to each and every family that walks through these doors come fall semester.”
After all speakers concluded their remarks, Davidson and Sanchez teamed up to cut the ribbon with a large pair of ceremonial scissors as Reedley College President Jerry Buckley and other dignitaries looked on. Following the ceremony, the public was able to tour the classrooms and offices in the building to get a closer look at the new desks and furniture for the young children.
While the ceremony took place, construction clatter continued just to the north at the future McClarty Center for the Fine and Performing Arts. The Center continues to take shape and remains on target to open in January 2024.