March 18, 2004
Surrounded by four and five-year-olds, Grace Milliman Pollock was at Harrisburg Area Community College on Tuesday to announce her $500 thousand gift to be used in construction of a new childcare and early childhood education center.

The Grace Milliman Pollock center will be built beginning this spring on the college's Wildwood Campus in Harrisburg.

The new ten thousand square foot state-of-the-art childcare center will be built on the college's Wildwood Campus in Harrisburg and will expand the number of children accepted, extend the hours, allow the center to take children as young as 6 weeks old. HACC has offered on-campus childcare since 1977, but this new facility will be three times as big as the current center.

"With an average student age of 27, childcare is absolutely essential to our students," said Dr. Edna Baehre, president of HACC. "The students who use our on-campus childcare facilities are much more likely to stay in school and finish their education."

In fact, Baehre said, more than three quarters of the students who currently use on-campus childcare say that they couldn't attend HACC without it.

The Grace Milliman Pollock Childcare/Early Childhood Education Center will feature age-specific classrooms for infants, young toddlers, older toddlers and preschool children. What's more, common rooms will allow for group activities for children from different age groups and the center will feature two outdoor playgrounds.

The center will utilize the latest design models in early childhood development to provide children with a homelike environment in which they can learn and begin to prepare for school.

"And, as a real bonus, the new center will include a classroom and special observation rooms," said Baehre. "Those special facilities will enable our early childhood education students to observe actual classrooms and become better prepared when they move into the workforce."

The new childcare center is being built in conjunction with the Select Medical Health Education Pavilion since healthcare students now account for more than a quarter of the college's enrollment.

"Many of the students entering healthcare fields are parents - many entering second careers," Baehre said. "Those students have to complete both on-campus classwork and off-campus clinical experiences and they need a safe place where their children can thrive."

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