JHU presents Early Learning Center design

Artist’s rendering of the proposed new Early Learning Center building
Artist’s rendering of the proposed new Early Learning Center building
Johns Hopkins University today presented designs for the Early Learning Center , an on-campus child care center, to Baltimore’s Urban Design, Architecture Advisory Panel. The new building, which will replace a temporary modular structure on Remington Avenue, will allow the university to welcome more children and families while maintaining the same high-quality care.

The Early Learning Center will be located on the Homewood campus at the southeast corner of University Parkway and San Martin Drive. The building will be approximately 26,000 square feet and able to accommodate 162 children, ranging in age from infant to preschooler. That’s a 69% capacity increase over the current, temporary facility.

Johns Hopkins anticipates construction will begin this fall and could open in late 2025 or early 2026. To ensure continuous child care, the existing facility won’t close until the new one opens.

Construction of the new building will generate trade contractor jobs and engage multiple businesses through the HopkinsLocal program to meet project participation targets of 20% minority and women-owned businesses and 20% local business enterprises.

The Early Learning Center will continue its longterm partnership with Downtown Baltimore Childcare , a nonprofit that provides early education and care to a diverse community through play-based learning. Downtown Baltimore Childcare also runs the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Centers at the Henderson-Hopkins School in Eager Park, and on the campus of the University of Maryland Baltimore.

Page, the project’s architect of record and nationally recognized for expertise in child care facilities, has worked closely with Downtown Baltimore Childcare to design a space that exceeds the state requirements, including for classroom size.

Page and Johns Hopkins architects are also working with a parent volunteer group, the Hopkins Early Learning Center Advisory Committee, to help evaluate building features including planning for a safe and efficient drop-off area and child-friendly landscape design.

The playground will be a signature feature. Nancy Striniste of Earlyspace, a playground design specialist, is working with Page and landscape architect WRA to transform the site’s naturally sloping hillside populated with numerous shade trees into adventurous play spaces that will include climbing, sensory trails, water play areas, and native edible plants.

Building materials will blend with the surrounding natural environment and feature a warm palette of forest greens and wood tones, reminiscent of a comforting "summer camp" experience. The two-story building will form a "U" shape, surrounding and protecting the play area from busy streets and parking. It will open to the west with panoramic views of the Stoney Run Creek Park.