Renovations Underway on New University Children’s Center, Child Dev. Lab

Jan 21, 2022

Humboldt State University recently broke ground on the renovation of the historic Trinity Annex, located just off campus at 14th and B streets. The extensive remodel and expansion will be the future home of the University’s Children’s Center and Child Development Lab; the project is slated for completion June 2023.

A photo rendering of the Trinity Annex project; view of east side looking west.

This week, demolition and abatement efforts are underway, as contractor S & B James removes hazardous materials, tears down buildings, clears landscaping, and begins lead paint abatement. The full scope of the project includes tearing down the dilapidated eastern wing of the building but retaining the aesthetic of the original, west-facing facade. Additional square footage for the Child Development Lab will come from a new wing and main entrance that complements the existing architecture. Once completed, the renovated Annex site will house children’s classrooms, staff offices, educational space, support spaces, and play yards.

“Over the past year and half, we’ve been working with staff and faculty from the Children’s Center and Child Development department to design a space that meets their growing needs and harmoniously fits in with the landscape of the neighborhood,” explains Jason Baugh, Facilities Management project manager. Additionally, the University has worked closely with the Secretary of Interior Standards to evaluate the site for significant impacts to historical resources and aesthetics.

Originally built in 1944, the building served as the Trinity Hospital until 1972. After being purchased by the University, the Annex was used as classroom space until the early 2000’s, and most recently, repurposed for campus storage. Despite the toll of age and underuse, the original old-growth redwood structure has preserved the Annex to the degree that renovation is possible.

The project is partially funded by $8.6 million from the state budget, allocated by the California State University in 2019. The total project budget will exceed $14 million with additional funding coming from the University and other project sources.

The renovated Children’s Center will include expanded outdoor play areas and offer improved access to families who use the Center via bus, bike, or foot. The city bus stop that services the Center will be relocated from 14th to B Street and short-term parking will be dedicated to pick-up and drop-off.

“The new facility will allow us to increase our ability to provide high quality child care to families in the University community, as well as training opportunities for the many student assistants we employ,” says Children’s Center Director Betsy Wilson.

Established in 1971, the HSU Children’s Center has continually provided affordable, subsidized high quality child care and early education programs for children aged three months to five years of HSU students, staff, and faculty families. Along with providing a broad range of comprehensive services to families, the Children’s Center also employs student assistants as supervised “teachers in training” each semester.

For 54 years, HSU’s Child Development Lab has been a special environment designed to provide a model preschool for children, create a learning center for University students and faculty, support and educate parents of young children, and serve as a research and instructional center at Humboldt State.

“We are thrilled to see this project move to a new phase,” says Child Development Professor and Lab program leader Hyun-Kyung You. “The new facility will feature developmentally appropriate and culturally unique indoor and outdoor spaces for young children, continuing our legacy with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) beyond the state-level child care licensing regulations. Moreover, this facility, equipped with the latest technology, will significantly enhance our students' hands-on learning experiences by teaching preschool children and learning from their relationships.”