Childcare Center Opens at UW

Date Posted: 12.02.2016

The University of Washington’s (UW) WorkLife and Capital Planning and Development celebrated the completion of the UW Children’s Center at Portage Bay with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week. The new facility supports the University’s initiative to expand childcare services for faculty, staff and students on campus with space for 140 children, ranging from infants through preschool age. Demonstrating the high demand for childcare in the area, more than 1,000 families applied for the 140 openings.

The renovation transforms an existing transportation office into a vibrant childcare center with nine classrooms and diverse features tailored for young children’s bodies and imaginations, including child-scaled interior window niches and an outdoor play area composed of four outdoor rooms. The facility is designed to reinforce community with visual transparency between classrooms, and support health through use of low- and zero-emitting materials. Views across Portage Bay from gathering areas and classrooms create a strong indoor-outdoor connection.

The center opens onto a large landscaped area that connects children with nature and brings new life to previously underutilized space on campus. The outdoor play space draws its inspiration from the water of Portage Bay, with a flowing, textured path that weaves through the site. The outdoor space is accessible to all ages, and includes space for defined and undefined play.

The new facility opens in early January. It’s the first new childcare facility at the University in more than 17 years and will add to the UW’s existing centers, which serve 267 children.

Mithun provided architecture, interior design and landscape architecture services. Mechanical and electrical engineering, and lighting design were completed by PAE Engineers.