CHILD CARE CENTER
A UCSC Child Care Facility with up to 10,000 square feet of outdoor play area is proposed adjacent to the Family Student Housing and near the west entrance to the campus.
The recommended siting for this facility is at the edge of the large stand of oaks south of the existing Family Student Housing complex. The building, proposed play area and the existing baseball field need to be integrated into a design which responds to the slope of the land, visually strengthens the west entry to campus, and helps to soften the rather negative edge created by the existing housing. Development here will provide an opportunity to strengthen the landscape within the viewshed of the west entry.
Parking for this facility is recommended to be at a minimum, with enough space for safe and convenient drop-off and pick-up functions and essential staff parking. The adjacent west remote parking lot is capable of providing assigned parking spaces for the remainder of the staff parking required.
- Site the child care facility as close to existing housing as possible so that visually it clusters with Family Student Housing rather than appearing as a free-standing building in the meadow.
- Orient the facility and its entrance to the west entry of the campus creating a welcoming campus image rather than one of blank walls.
- Integrate the building, its play area, and the existing baseball field into a series of stepped "gardens" carefully graded to avoid sharp edges where graded fields meet the natural rolling topography. Landscaping is required that can help tie the field and play areas to the larger natural landscape. For example, the existing plantings of oaks south of Family Student Housing could be extended to the northeast and southwest, to contain the Child Care Center within a larger landscape.
- Careful design attention is essential for all required fences so that they provide a unifying design.
- Play equipment, baseball back stops and seating, and other miscellaneous outdoor equipment related to the baseball field should be designed so that they are an integrated collection of elements which are sensitive to the larger campus landscape. Play equipment related to the Child Care Center should not be visible from the west entry.
- Parking should be minimal, accommodating necessary drop-off areas and minimal staff parking (5 spaces plus drop-off). Drop-off and pick-up areas must be designed to accommodate the rush of morning and afternoon traffic safely and efficiently. Assigned spaces should be created within the west remote parking lot to safely assure meeting the Child Care Center's parking demands.
- Vehicular and pedestrian access needs to be straight forward, easy to understand, and safe. A four-way intersection with stop signs and crosswalks should be considered at the Heller/West Remote intersection. The driveway/access road to the child care facility should align with the West Remote access road. The new access road and its parking should set carefully in the sloping grasslands with minimum visibility from Heller and the West Entry.
The proposed Child Care Center and new playfield at the West Entry.
- The site plans developed for the child care center should anticipate future infill housing to the Family Student Housing cluster. Concepts for infill housing between the existing buildings and Heller Drive should be developed concurrent with the child care center. All new buildings should respect an agreed upon setback from Heller Drive of 100 feet.
- Landscape for the child care facility should reinforce the native landscape of this portion of campus. Oak woodlands and grasslands should both be reinforced with the introduction of this facility. Irrigated lawns, flowering plants, vegetable gardens and other landscapes related to child care and children's educational programs can be accommodated within the "discrete" spaces of the Center and not be visible from the west entry or Heller Drive. These special landscapes need to be well sited to not impact or carve up the larger grassland areas. Special landscapes should be aggregated and as close to the building elements as possible.
- A courtyard has been suggested to be incorporated in the design of the building by the user group. This should be explored in the building design phase and could possibly house much of the special landscape which does not relate to the grassland/oak woodlands. The facility should be designed to face both toward the west entry and toward the Family Student Housing cluster, while creating courtyard space not visible from the west entry.
- The program of the Child Care Center must be articulated to fit lightly into the landscape and to avoid introducing a single bulk out of scale with the neighboring buildings.
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