Paramount Child Development Center

Avenal, California

Paramount Child Development Center is an energy-efficient, high-performance development center built for the children of Paramount Farms’ employees. The $7 million, 12,000-square-foot learning and development center is built on 5.3 acres of land and can accommodate up to 80 children.

The building itself houses many ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$583.33FEATURED IN2010 Educational InteriorsINTERIOR CATEGORYPre-K/Early Childhood Education green technologies, including overhead chilled beam systems and hydronic heating in the floor. A roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system generates energy for the facility and provides excess power back to the grid as well. The project recently was awarded LEED gold certification.

Designed with a goal of improved learning, the building features an integrated data system for Internet access in all classrooms, high visibility of spaces for teachers (low walls and plenty of glazing) and learning gardens. In addition, the center was designed for an increase of indoor space per child, from the required 35 square feet to 50 square feet. The design also included safe and durable finishes to enhance the tactile experience (both inside and out), comfortable spaces and niches for reading inside, a grass amphitheater outside and covered play areas.

The building was shaped in response to the program first, then to the climate. The need to provide exterior usable spaces that harvest sun and wind, as well as the idea of layering the transition from public to private play areas, promoted the creation of a central courtyard. This courtyard is enclosed by the administration/multipurpose wing and the classrooms, and provides a usable play area year-round.