Creation of child-care center approved

The Board of Trustees gave concept and site approval last month for a child-care center in Escondido Village, an apartment community primarily for graduate students. The center would be able to care for as many as 96 infants and young children—primarily of faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, but also of staff.

The East Campus Child Care Center would be a two-story, 8,300-square-foot building constructed on Olmsted Road, near the corner of Serra Street and El Camino Real. It would be the fourth full-time child-care center serving families of the university community. The three existing centers—Children's Center of the Stanford Community, the Stanford Arboretum Children's Center and Knowledge Beginnings—accommodate a total of 385 full-time children. About 600 families are currently on waiting lists, according to the Dec. 11 presentation heard by the trustees' Committee on Land and Buildings.

Plans for the new center are expected to be brought back to the trustees in April for design and project approval. The building is expected to blend in with the surrounding residential character of Escondido Village and feature outdoor play areas shaded by existing mature trees. The front door would face Olmsted Road, with seven classrooms inside. Like the other three child-care centers, the new one would care for children between 8 weeks and 5 years old.

Initial estimates put the cost of the project at $3.5 million, and if the board OKs the project again in April, approval for construction could come from trustees in June—contingent on a guaranteed maximum price. Based on that proposed schedule of reviews, the new center would open in June 2008.

Wide landscape setbacks are planned for the center, and primary vehicular entrance would be on Olmsted Road. The Land and Buildings Committee recommended that on-street parking should be retained, unless it is decided that the spaces should be redesignated to serve the center. The committee also recommended that a secondary parking lot be built north of the building to replace parking in Escondido Village displaced by the project and anticipated facility needs.

The facility's current design incorporates plans for future expansion, if required. Land adjacent to the project site, on the southeast, is being considered for future development of additional graduate housing. According to the presentation, long-term plans for Escondido Village include a lit "central spine pathway" that would connect from the child-care center, travel past all major neighborhood resources and end at the Graduate Student Community Center. The first of the path's three phases is already complete.

Although the new facility would be visible from both El Camino Real and Serra Street, plans call for landscape setbacks, buffers and plantings to reduce its prominence at the popular campus entry point. An existing diagonal footpath cutting across the site would be replaced with a paved walkway that connects Olmsted Road with the new center and out to the corner of El Camino Real and Serra Street.