[ skip to content ]


Old Dominion University recently launched a $3 million campaign to finance the expansion of its Lions Child Study Center, a special facility on campus which guides youngsters through their first steps in education.

The center currently houses a highly regarded preschool and kindergarten program, a parenting center, parenting resource library and speech pathology program.

As part of the expansion plans, the university's Child Development Center, a full-service, full-time day-care facility for 90 children ages 8 weeks to 3 years, will move from its location at the northwest end of the campus into the expanded facility.

"The Child Development Center is at capacity. There is no additional space for more children and the waiting list includes more than 400 children," said Katharine Kersey, a nationally known child study expert who has chaired ODU's early childhood, speech-language pathology and special education department for many years.

ODU's Child Study Center, which has provided a setting for training teachers and child care professionals since 1967, and serves as a site for
research on early childhood development, is also operating at 100 percent capacity, with no space to expand any of its programs, Kersey added.

The expansion, to be financed in part by state funds, will feature a two-story wing to accommodate 60 additional children in the child development program, offices and research space. The oldest wing of the current building will be renovated to include classrooms, workrooms, group treatment areas, office space, conference rooms, recreation area and library. Additional conference rooms and testing areas will provide expanded assessment, training and research opportunities.

The entire facility will enclose an open-air, tree-shaded playground and activity area.

At the campaign kickoff on April 28, President Roseann Runte helped illustrate the importance of the Child Development Center.

"When I became president, my very first phone call from a parent was someone saying, 'I can't get my son in!' I asked what high school he attended and the parent said, 'He's 2 years old!' I knew immediately how vital a mission this was to families and our community."

Expanding the Lions Child Study Center will also allow ODU staff to integrate the special education and speech therapy programs with the child care program. "While the increase in capacity can only accommodate a fraction of the Child Development Center's waiting list, the long-term benefit will be the number of graduates who work in the community, filling the critical need for excellent child care," Kersey said.

At the Child Study Center, under Kersey's leadership, ODU students receive both theoretical and field-based training. After earning their degrees, graduates take their experience and expertise into the community, teaching in public and private schools and working in the child care industry. ODU's Darden College of Education is among the top producers of teachers in Virginia, and 42 percent of its graduates work in Hampton Roads.

For more information about the fundraising campaign or to make a contribution, call Lori Schick, development officer for the education college, at 757-683-4422.

This article was posted on: May 8, 2006

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.