UNT moving Child Development lab to Mean Green Village

UNT moving Child Development lab to Mean Green Village

November 30
18:19 2016

The UNT Child Development Lab is moving from Matthews Hall to Mean Green Village Building B in spring of 2017. A suite for Dr. Bertina H. Combes, the interim dean of education, will be constructed in its place, Helen Bailey, director of Facilities Planning and Design Construction, said.

The construction on the new lab, a laboratory preschool under supervision of the College of Education, will finish this winter and is expected to cost $1.6 million in total. The dean of the College of Education suite is currently early in the design phase.

“The Child Development Lab currently has two classrooms for the children and faculty and an observation room for students to observe the children’s activities for their programs,” Bailey said.

The new facility will be expanding the total number of classrooms to four and will be adding a new, larger playground for the children. While the lab is being constructed, the current facility in Matthews Hall will continue operations until the end of the semester, Dr. Carol Hagen, director of the Child Development Lab, said.

One of the most significant changes to the new lab will be the addition of two play therapy rooms, Hagen said. Currently, the play therapy program is being conducted outside of the child development lab at the UNT Child and Family Resource Clinic.
The program, conducted by advanced doctoral-level interns and advanced masters-level interns, studies the way children express their feelings through playing and help children with emotional issues through various playful activities, according to the UNT CFRC website.

The two programs had been working next door to each other in Stovall Hall before its destruction. She said that putting the play therapy program and child development programs back in the same building will help them revive the collaboration that had previously existed.

Once the current faculty and children are properly adjusted to the new facility, additional staff will be hired to accommodate the increase in size, Hagen said. This expansion will also allow for more children to be involved in the program and will allow more UNT students to be involved in the play therapy and child development programs.

The current staff and children that are enrolled in the program will remain during the move. Hagen said they don’t want to surprise the children by changing too quickly, so they have been gradually explaining the move to the children and showing them photos of the new location. She said that she also expects a good transition for the faculty and students.

“You don’t want to throw too many changes at them,” Hagen said. “However, keeping the same teachers, the same schedule, the same materials, we expect that it should be a smooth transition.”

Bailey said the primary reason for the move from on to off-campus was because of difficulties with the dropoff and pickup of the children on Highland Street.

She said since the street was reconstructed last year, there is significantly more traffic through the area, creating a risk for the children and parents. Moving the program will also allow the College of Education to expand within their own building, paving the way for new programs to be developed.

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Evan Groom

Evan Groom

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