Expansion of Child Development Center could allow 50 additional children to enroll

Erin O'Neill, Reporter

The App State Child Development Center, a facility that provides child care for App State students, faculty and staff, is expanding.

Moriah Stegall, director of the CDC, said the main goal of the expansion is to make affordable, high-quality child care available to more members of the App State community. 

The CDC, which operates under the Division of Student Affairs, currently serves 68 children and has nearly 100 children and families on its waitlist. The expansion will allow the center to accommodate an additional 40-50 children. 

According to App State’s Building Physical Infrastructure website, App State plans to add a 3,000-square-foot, prefabricated building with a fixed foundation to the existing site on Poplar Grove Road and renovate the existing building. The expansion, which is expected to finish in fall 2020, will also include a new drop-off area, parking, sidewalks and an exterior playground.

One of the few people to make it off the waitlist was Kathryn Webb-Farley, Master of Public Administration director and assistant professor at App State. Webb-Farley has a 16-month-old son enrolled at CDC. She was on the waitlist six months before he was born and remained on the list until a spot opened up in August. 

Webb-Farley said she was “overwhelmed with joy” when she found out her son was taken off the waitlist. 

“I think you always want the best for your kid, and so personally, I wanted to send him there because I knew they offered one of the best centers in the area, if not the best,” Webb-Farley said. 

The expansion will not only allow the CDC to serve more children but will also include additional classroom as well as hiring additional “educated and really competent” teachers, Stegall said.

As a parent, Webb-Farley said she hopes the expansion will give children more “play-to-learn” opportunities and outdoor spaces. 

“We work with our design and construction team, and we have an outside design firm that’s been helping us look at locations and various building models to, one, make sure what we’re doing is really going to be great for the kids and families and, two, help us make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck, and so we’ve been hard at work planning for quite some time,” Stegall said. 

The UNC board of governors approved a budget of $2.57 million for the project. The center’s operations are funded by a “sliding scale of fees based on the income of the parents and families of the children,” according to App State’s Building Physical Infrastructure website.

Stegall said she is “thrilled” the chancellor is committing to additional high quality child care for App State.

 “Even with an expansion, even if we clear off our waitlist, there would still be a whole slew of babies waiting to get in the next year,” Stegall said.

Stegall said the CDC is just another way App State looks out for its people.

“In the culture of Appalachian (State) University, we really take care of each other and look out for each other, and we do that with our children and with our families. It doesn’t matter if you’re a tenured professor, or a dean or whether you’re a staff member who works second shift because that’s what works for your family; we care for our families,” Stegall said.