University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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Oct. 3, 2003


UW-RF to Break Ground for New C.H.I.L.D. Center
By Sarah Matara
UW-RF News Bureau

Groundbreaking for a $1.1 million C.H.I.L.D. Care Center at UW-River Falls is set for Monday, Oct. 20. The ceremony is at 9:30 a.m. on the site at the east end of campus south of Crabtree Hall.

The 7,800-square-feet facility will have six classrooms for children ages six weeks to 12 years, and be able to provide services for up to 96 children. The classrooms will surround a central play area with office and support space. The outside architecture is of a modern-looking style.

The new childcare center is funded with student fees and grants without any state tax dollars. Students voted to use these fees to provide funding for the building.

The University also received a $100,000 federal grant called Childcare Access Means Parents in School. It will help with the continuing operation of the facility, especially paying for student help.

The ceremony will begin with remarks by Chancellor Ann Lydecker and Dean Connie Foster of the College of Education and Professional Studies. Area legislators and students who send their children to the center also will participate. After the program, the ceremony will move to the building site, across the road from Crabtree. Children and staff from the childcare center will sing and help with the shovel turning in a special sandpile that will be set up for them. A reception will follow at the site.

C.H.I.L.D. Center Director Deborah Ryan said that the new facility will make it easier to serve more children in the community and those of University students. The current facility in the Ames Teacher Education Center accommodate 60 children. That building is scheduled to be razed next summer, to make room for a new $28 million student center, also to be built entirely using student fees.

The childcare center is a component of UW-RF's College of Education and Professional Studies. It serves as a fieldwork site for students enrolled in programs in early childhood education, elementary education, communicative disorders, social work, counseling and school psychology.

Ryan said the children participate in a variety of activities, such as movement, music, art, story-time, and outdoor-time.

"We have a good, solid educational program, allowing students hands-on experience."

Mary Halada, assistant to the vice chancellor for administration and finance, thinks this project is wonderful thing for the community and students. "Students get first priority since they already pay a fee for childcare along with their tuition. You don't find flexible childcare as far as scheduling goes anywhere except in a University setting," Halada said.

Students and other parents can drop off their children for the morning or the afternoon, and do not have to pay for a full day like at other daycares. This is advantageous for everyone, but especially students because of their class schedules, Halada said.

"They can have their kids right here on campus with them and if there's a problem, they can be reached right away. They can even have lunch with their kids."

Halada said that the affordable daycare is a useful recruiting tool, not only for students, but also for hiring faculty and staff who appreciate that there is childcare on campus.

The design for the building was created by Workshop Architects in association with Moody/Nolan Architects from Milwaukee. Construction is scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 6 and should be completed in July.

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