Carnegie Mellon University

CMU President Farnam Jahanian and four children from the Cyert Center cutting a ribbon at the entrance of the new Cyert space

November 15, 2023

Cyert Center Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

On November 14, Carnegie Mellon University’s Cyert Center for Early Education celebrated the grand opening of its newly expanded Penn Avenue location. The center, located at 6555 Penn Avenue in the Bakery Square area, hosted university leadership as well as Cyert leadership and members of the project team, who gathered to celebrate the center and the opportunities it will provide for families looking for high-quality child care.

The updated Cyert Center, which can accommodate an additional 100 children, demonstrates Carnegie Mellon’s ongoing dedication to making child care accessible for families in the campus community.

“Cyert on Penn Avenue highlights CMU’s commitment to providing families with high-quality care and educational experiences for their children. As we all know, these experiences are key to developing thriving, inclusive communities and to preparing children for success,” said Carnegie Mellon President Farnam Jahanian. “Through this expansion, we’re excited to grow our commitment to CMU’s working families.”

President Jahanian reading to children in preschool classroom
The Cyert Center's preschool class enjoys a story read by President Jahanian.

The event began with children from the Cyert Center’s preschool classroom assisting Jahanian in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by remarks by Jahanian and Cyert Center Co-Directors Jennifer Kemp and Mary Moore.

Guests were then treated to a tour of the new space, which includes an additional eight classrooms, a larger studio and a piazza. New windows infuse the space with natural light, and children can enjoy a playground that has doubled in size, featuring more open space for gross motor play, an outdoor studio, 200 square feet for digging and gardening, and spaces devoted to engaging with natural elements.

The project, a partnership between the Office of Human Resources, Finance Division, and Campus Design and Facility Development, was announced in August 2022 in response to feedback from CMU’s Family Care Advisory Committee regarding the growing need for additional child care options. Construction was completed in September 2023.

The expansion builds upon the university’s growing family care offerings, which include the Care for Business Program and the Family Care Concierge Service. Jennifer Kemp, Cyert Co-Director for Penn Avenue, noted, “The expansion of our program is Carnegie Mellon University’s direct response and recognition to our nation’s child care crisis and was undertaken to support the family care needs expressed by our faculty, staff and graduate students. As a result, the university leadership team, led by Farnam Jahanian, continues to make child care a priority to better support the needs of the CMU community.”

Project team members posing in studio
Members of the expansion project team in the new studio (from left to right): Mary Moore, Cyert Center co-director for Morewood Gardens; Jennifer Kemp, Cyert Center co-director for Penn Avenue; Karen Eck, senior director, programs and services, Office of Human Resources; and Utkarsh Ghildyal, associate director of design, Campus Design and Facility Development

Originally known as the Carnegie Mellon Child Care Center, the Cyert Center was founded in 1971 by a group of women faculty members who wanted a full-day, quality child care program on campus. Since its founding, the center has operated out of the Morewood Gardens dormitory. The Penn Avenue location opened in 2017 in response to the need for additional high-quality child care for the CMU community.

The 2023 expansion of the center represents one more step in the university’s growing presence in the Bakery Square area. The CMU-owned building at 6555 Penn Avenue is also home to the CMU Cloud Lab. Finance Division and the Office of the Vice President for Research have offices nearby at Bakery Office Three.

Space is available at the Cyert Center! Interested CMU families are invited to apply now or schedule a tour to learn about the center’s program and pedagogy.