Local Designer Awarded Child Care Center Project

February 6, 2015

Greenfield-based Jones Whitsett Architects has been chosen to design Greenfield Community College’s new Child Care Center. The Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance(DCAMM) selected Jones Whitsett to design a state-of-the-art facility that will combine a healthy, creative educational setting with maximum environmental efficiency. Jones Whitsett is led by Principal Architect Margo JonesAIA, NCARB, LEED AP. Jones Whitsett Architects is an award-winning architectural practice with three decades of experience providing architectural services on municipal, cultural, and historic preservation projects. Over the past two decades, school design has become the largest part of Jones Whitsett’s portfolio. The firm is known for their creative collaboration, ability to listen, high performance technical expertise, sensitivity to community and context, and functional pragmatism.

The new Child Care Center will be the first on-campus child care center at GCC since GCC’s Head Start program ended about fifteen years ago when renovation began on the College’s Main Building. The new Center will be built on the College’s Main Campus and will serve GCC the families of GCC staff, faculty and students, as well as families from throughout the community. It will also serve as the “lab school” for students in GCC’s Education programs to do their field work.

Commenting on the selection of Jones Whitsett, GCC President Bob Pura said, “The competition for this project was stiff with many good architects from throughout the state eager to take on the work. We are especially pleased that the DCAMM Review Board chose Greenfield-based Jones Whitsett Architects to design GCC’s new Child Care Center. Margo Jones’ understanding of GCC is long-standing. This brings an added dimension and understanding of this community to the design of the Center. Knowing that Jones Whitsett is designing the Center elevates our excitement about the project. We are hopeful that children, teachers, parents, and GCC’s students will be entering the new Child Care Center by January of 2017.”

Responding to DCAMM’s decision, Jones said, “Jones Whitsett Architects is truly thrilled to have been selected as the design firm for this important project. It is a very exciting project, which will utilize many of our strengths and passions—healthy, creative educational environments, cutting edge sustainable design, participatory and reclamation landscape architecture, and early childhood design that will be ‘state of the art.’ Certainly affordable, high quality child care for GCC is needed, and will be a huge resource for the College and its community. We are especially honored to be chosen to follow in the footsteps of the previous design team who, in partnership with GCC and DCAMM, made beautiful improvements to the Main Building at the campus. We have every confidence we can meet and possibly exceed this very high bar for interactive, accessible architecture. Since the child care facility will be a new building, we’ll be able to make it even ‘greener,’ and hopefully comply with Passive House requirements for low energy use. And, it’s so great that we are a short bike ride away, and many of our staff and families have worked or studied at GCC. I was on the GCC Foundation Board many years ago, my daughter went to GCC, and it is gratifying to be working with President Pura and his staff on this exciting project.”

Reflecting on the need for an on-campus Child Care Center, Kate Finnegan, GCC Professor of Education, said, “In order to flourish as younger human beings, children need loving care, food, shelter, heat, clothing, and education. In addition, educational programs like those that will be housed in the new Center offer protection, foster resiliency, and create opportunity. As children flourish and mature into adulthood, they begin their unique journey into the larger world. GCC welcomes the children and their families who will be served by the programming delivered at the new facility on GCC campus. A majority of the parents of children served by child care programming at the new GCC facility will be, in all likelihood, GCC students. When GCC’s previous child care program closed years ago, 75% of the children’s parents were also GCC students.”

Working on the Child Care Center design along with Jones Whitsett will be Keith Miller of Miller Design LLC. Miller said, “Miller Design has designed over 100 Child Care Centers in the United States and abroad and we are excited to be part of the design team with Jones Whitsett Architects. We look forward to sharing our expertise with the team and community in creating a building that will in turn shape the future of the community through the children, faculty, and students. As a team, we feel it is important that everyone understands that this needs to be a great place to be a child because it is the only childhood he or she will ever have.”

By Mary McClintock, ’82