New Laboratory childcare center to open doors

By Jacob Solomon. Lincoln Laboratory Technical Communications

Work-life balance is a meaningful topic for the Lincoln Laboratory community. For many staff, parenting is where this balance comes heavily into play. In June, children of Laboratory staff joined with leadership at the Laboratory's Forbes Road location to cut the ribbon for the new Technology Children's Center at Lincoln Laboratory (TCC-Linc), scheduled to open in September. Dr. Eric Evans, Director, mentioned the new center has been a pivotal project to serve the Laboratory community by providing high quality childcare services locally. The facility's design was proposed by the MIT Work-Life Center in partnership with childcare agency Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Structure Tone construction, and studioMLA Architects, all led by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Capital Projects Office.

Children at ribbon cutting ceremony for TCC-Linc childcare centerJohn Kuconis, (left) Executive Director, Director's Office, and Kathy Simmons (right) of the MIT Work-Life Center hold the ribbon for children of Laboratory staff to celebrate the completion of the new TCC-Linc childcare center

In addition, input was solicited from members of the Laboratory community. "The PACE Committee and parents were invited to participate in all phases of the design both for the facility and the playground," said John Kuconis, Executive Officer, Director's Office. The PACE Childcare Subcommittee provides a channel of communication between the Laboratory community and leadership in matters of work/life balance, serving as an avenue for staff to convey their needs. "The center was constructed at 5 Forbes Road because our contract with the State of Massachusetts for the present facility was to expire on 31 October 2016," said Kuconis. The current Linc facility is on the grounds of the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical High School. With the contract set to end soon, TCC-Linc was built in order to ensure that Laboratory staff would not be forced to find other childcare options around the area.

For parents working at the Laboratory, high quality childcare is of utmost importance. Emily Anesta of the Advanced Concepts and Technologies Group has been a user of the current childcare (Linc) for seven years, which will continue to offer infant, toddler, and preschool programs. The staff at the center pride themselves on respect for children, their cultural backgrounds, ideas, natural curiosity, and eagerness to learn, and Anesta said she has been consistently impressed with the quality of care and education her two children have received. "When our children are well cared for and thriving, we are free to do our best work," she said. "This new facility is conveniently located and retains the high quality staff that Linc is known for."

The facility features a natural playground for children to engage in active and imaginative play, nature observation, and even gardening in raised beds. The facility has been designed to reflect the needs of the Laboratory community through the efforts of Laboratory staff like Anesta and Dr. Heather Zwahlen, Assistant Group Leader of the Homeland Protection Systems Group. "Emily Anesta and I are co-chairs of the PACE Childcare Subcommittee and were both very involved with the development and design of the new TCC-Linc childcare center," Zwahlen said. "As a parent who will have a child in one of the preschool classrooms, I am thrilled with the new facility, high quality teachers, and staff who will transition with the children from the old building to the new building, and the strong support of MIT and Lincoln Laboratory to prioritize the needs of Laboratory families and provide such a great facility."

TCC-Linc Childcare center The playground extends behind the facility, bordering the nearby forest.

As members of the project team, Anesta and Zwahlen had the opportunity to offer design inputs, and gather and communicate parent inputs. "All parties—from the architects, to the staff at Bright Horizons, to the MIT Work-Life campus staff—gave great consideration to involving the parents and making them part of the design process, and the parent community reciprocated throughout the process, but perhaps the single unifying feature was the importance of the care for the children," said Gerald Augeri, Space Systems and Technology Division and co-chair of the PACE Committee. "As a representative of PACE, along with Emily and Heather, we are proud to be ambassadors for the Laboratory in helping to bring this amazing state-of-the-art facility to reality."

 

 

Posted August 2016

 

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