YWCA Princeton
Improving Health and Safety for a New Childcare Wing
Princeton, NJ

Project Type

The YWCA Princeton, located on Paul Robeson Place near the heart of downtown Princeton, is housed in two connected structures built in the 1950s and 1970s.  After officially separating from their next-door neighbor, the YMCA, the YWCA engaged the services of Studio Hillier to undertake a complete renovation of its facilities.  The goals, many of which were set by the NJ State Department of Children and Families, were to meet and exceed health and safety standards, improve environmental performance of the buildings, and to enhance its early learning environment.  A new childcare wing was envisioned thanks to a gift from The Burke Foundation. 



To achieve sustainability goals, exterior windows and doors were replaced with energy-efficient window frames and insulated glass in the East wing and new HVAC equipment, including new Energy Star rooftop units, was installed to serve all areas.


Honoring a Tight Schedule


To minimize disruptions to activities at the YWCA, construction was completed entirely during the summer break of 2020 while the facilities were closed.  Meeting the deadline of opening the daycare on the first day of school required early and carefully detailed

Daycare Performance Standards


The most effective design solution to address health and safety concerns was to separate the classrooms from the community spaces and administration area.  This required extensive demolition and structural modifications.  In the new childcare wing, the results were increased classroom capacities with room for new amenities and new child-centric bathrooms next to the classrooms.  New wood doors and hardware were installed to meet safety standards for daycare.


Updates for Visitors and Employees


Administrative offices, the entry lobby and common spaces were also renovated, adding in ADA restrooms and a lactation room.  New finishes, equipment, and suspended ceilings were used throughout.