The Nest Center, a sister site to the Hope Street Center which serves children from kindergarten through high school, opened this past week. Some Lionakis design staff members who worked on this project, Barbie Aguilar, and Ana Perales, were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremonies. The center is situated on South Vermont Street right across from the University of Southern California campus, and will take on 32 children between 18 months and 40 months old. All these children will come from low-income families who could not otherwise afford such services. The massive renovation took place thanks to an available location in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, which had an old multi-purpose room that wasn’t being used, and it allowed the Nest Center to open up in that space. Architects and builders came together to turn the space into a second home for the children in this under-served community.
“We thought of the nest because we wanted a space to develop and nurture children, we wanted a space that encourages kids to explore.”
All interior and exterior spaces are now ADA compliant and the project is federally funded. Further expansion funds will be used to provide care services for over 40 pregnant women and children within surrounding neighborhoods who are in need. The full-day and year-round center is intended to be eligible for licensing by the California Department of Social Services Community Care (Title 22).The Nest is made up of two rooms, one for children between 18 months and 2 years old, and the other for children between 2 years old and 40 months old. The furniture is specially crafted for children of their size, and all of the cabinets and counters have rounded edges so as not to injure any of the children as they move around the space. The learning will be child-led — meaning teachers will base what they do on what children pick up and choose to play with. The room for 24- to 30-month-olds has large gray curtains, shaped like wings, which can be moved together when it’s nap time. The floor plan is open, and the space is meant to be easily moved through.
Congratulations to the entire project team, the community and please enjoy the gallery of photos below of the newly finished space, set to serve growing infants and toddlers, for many years to come.