IFF was honored to serve as the lead developer for the Marygrove Early Education Center, overseeing construction and working closely with architects, contractors, community members, and early childhood providers to develop and build the facility. We consulted and engaged with parents, families, caregivers, and childcare providers to help inform the design and ensure the center’s programs met the needs of the diverse community.
The Marygrove Early Education Center
Built on the campus of the historic Marygrove College in Northwest Detroit, the Marygrove Early Education Center demonstrates what early childhood education (ECE) can look like when best practices in facility design are incorporated into a development process driven by the needs of children, their families, and the broader community. In short, the Marygrove Early Education Center is by Detroit, for Detroit, to demonstrate the transformative potential of quality early education facilities in Detroit.
The Marygrove Early Education Center offers:
- High-quality education for nearly 150 of Detroit’s youngest children (birth to age 5)
- Comprehensive wraparound services for children and their families, including mental health services, speech therapy, and parenting programs
- Professional development, networking, and resource connections for ECE providers in the surrounding Livernois & McNichols neighborhoods – creating connectivity between the center and the community that strengthens the continuum of services and education available to children from birth through their pursuit of higher education.
The 28,000-square-foot facility includes 12 spacious classrooms, dedicated developmental spaces, and a central focus on interior courtyards that bring in natural light and connect to the larger campus. Connectivity between the indoors and outdoors, the color scheme, and furnishings are several examples of how the Marygrove Early Education Center models best practices that can be incorporated in early education facilities throughout Detroit and beyond.
This state-of-the-art center is evidence of the vital and transformational role collaboration plays in strengthening communities. The team of partners who brought the Marygrove Early Education Center to fruition includes:
- Detroit Parents & Childcare Providers who helped shape the center’s development by sharing insights about current early education needs in Detroit.
- Starfish Family Services, a long-time ECE provider and champion for children and families across metro Detroit, operates the center with a diverse and highly qualified team of educators and administrators.
- Marygrove Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the legacy of Marygrove College, is actively stewarding the 53-acre campus in Northwest Detroit where the center is located.
- Hope Starts Here Detroit, a citywide initiative to develop a comprehensive early childhood system that puts young children and families first, developed a framework that highlights leading practices for the design, operation, and financing of early childhood facilities – priorities that are reflected in the center’s physical design and programming.
- The Kresge Foundation, a private foundation working to expand opportunities through grantmaking and social investing, helped fund the center’s development, committing $50 million to the project – the largest philanthropic investment in a Detroit neighborhood in history.
- Barton Malow, a commercial and institutional construction company founded in Detroit, constructed the center and committed 20% of its construction spending to minority-, veteran-, and women-owned businesses.
- Detroit Collaborative Design Center, a multidisciplinary, nonprofit design center based in the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and Community Development (SACD), designed, facilitated, and implemented a community engagement process to inform the center’s development.
All Marygrove Early Education Center partners are also members of the P-20 Partnership, a “cradle-to-career” effort that offers comprehensive programming on Marygrove’s campus. This programming addresses various life stages and needs, ranging from pre-natal care to post-secondary graduate support. In addition to the organizations listed above, the P-20 Partnership includes the University of Michigan School of Education and Detroit Public Schools Community District.