Cattaraugus Early Childhood Learning Center

Salamanca, NY

64,000 sf

400 students,
6 weeks - 13 years

$20 million


The Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) is a family oriented program with goals applying to students,families and the community. The new building on the Cattaraugus Reservation serves a growing population of children between the ages of 6 weeks and 13 years. The 400 student capacity is anticipated to meet growth for the next twenty years.

The facility serves as a center for childhood development and education, health services, and cultivation of the Seneca language and traditions. Existing programs (Daycare, Head Start and After School) have been retained and enhanced while two additional programs, Seneca Education and Seneca Language are accommodated. Community involvement is critical to the Nation, and joint uses are accommodated as much as practical in terms of retaining safety and identity of the early childhood programs.

Seneca culture is integrated into the design as a reflection of the Nation’s proud and rich history and to enhance learning opportunities for the programs within. The school’s “Food is our Medicine” project, a partnership between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the Seneca Diabetes Foundation is also promoted in the design of interior spaces. All landscape plantings are exclusively comprised of local indigenous species in compliance with newly enacted Seneca Nation of Indians policy. A variety of sustainable design considerations have also been incorporated into the project where feasible.