College of Southern Maryland officials and supporters gathered last week to break ground for the new 10,000-square-foot St. Charles Children's Learning Center on the La Plata campus.

The child center project was undertaken after a student survey found that "finding acceptable child care" was among the top five issues students face while attending the college. The center will be a day-care provider as well as a resource for the college's child development programs.

Plans call for 25 of 100 day-care seats to be reserved for students, who will be charged a lower rate and have access to part-time child care. The remaining slots will be available to the community on a first-come, first-served basis.

All funds for construction are being raised privately. The CSM Foundation is engaged in a campaign to raise $500,000 for the initial design and work on the $1.2 million center.

At left, Delores C. Datcher, board of trustees member emeritus, speaks at the ceremony. Above, Sally Grainger, left, laughs with CSM Foundation Chairman Evelyn Hungerford.The College of Southern Maryland held a groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday for its Children's Learning Center in La Plata.