Colorado State University Celebrates Early Childhood Center Opening March 9

Young children in Fort Collins have a new place to learn and play with the recent move of Colorado State University’s Early Childhood Center to its new location. The newly renovated historic Washington School Building at 223 S. Shields St. now boasts a full-day, full-year program serving children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. A grand opening celebration and open house will be held from 11 a.m. – noon on Saturday, March 9.

The open house celebrates the culmination of an extensive, $4.6 million remodel to the Washington School, a historic facility formerly held by Poudre School District. The school building was built in 1919. With the recent renovation it now provides 17,000 square feet of classroom space for pre-school aged children and a prime space for CSU students to study childhood development. The outdoor playground space is about a half acre.

To attend the open house, RSVPs are required and can be made at

The renovation highlights CSU’s commitment to the environment and the Early Childhood Center’s commitment to outdoor space and building design as equally important aspects of the learning environment. As the laboratory school for students studying childhood development within the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at CSU, the Early Childhood Center serves a three-fold mission:

  • To offer a high-quality, developmentally appropriate program for young children in partnership with families.
  • To provide hands-on training opportunities for CSU students interested in careers working with children and families.
  • To promote diverse opportunities for research related to children, families, and early childhood education.

“The CSU Early Childhood Center is an incredible program. We are very excited about our new home in this fantastic school as we move into the future,” says Lise Youngblade, head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

The overall increase in space allows CSU’s Early Childhood Center to better serve the Fort Collins community. The program transitioned from a preschool-only program for children between the ages of 2 1/2 years to 5 years to one that serves children between the ages of 6 weeks to 6 years. The number of full-time slots expanded from 58 to 100, which, combined with part-time slots, allows the center to serve up to 150 families. The ECC also expanded its programing to a 12-month program. The program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the leader in supporting best practices for the education of young children.

“In addition to serving the children of CSU employees and students, the ECC also is open to families from the Fort Collins community,” Youngblade said. “Child care tuition scholarships are available for CSU students who are parents through grant funding and gifts, and efforts are under way to fund scholarships for other families in need as well.”

Applications for children to attend the center in Fall 2013 will be accepted starting March 1. For more information about the center, visit or call (970) 491-7082.

The expansion of the Early Childhood Center, which was formerly housed in a small space on campus, offers new learning opportunities for more than 400 CSU students studying a variety of disciplines. The new location also provides more space and opportunity for research by CSU faculty.

The renovation was funded through the CSU student-directed University Facility Fee Advisory Board. Funding also was provided by CSU, the College of Health and Human Sciences (formerly the College of Applied Human Sciences), the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and a number of foundations and private donors including the Griffin Foundation, the Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, and Qualistar Colorado.

A second-phase fundraising campaign for a state-of-the-art outdoor learning environment and playground is under way.