May 27, 2011
By Kris Foster
Each year the Government of Saskatchewan, through the Early Years Branch of Saskatchewan Learning, releases a list of priority locations across the province that will receive funding to create additional childcare spaces. On May 16, the government announced that the U of S was on this year’s list.
“In 2007, we requested an additional 100 childcare spaces and have been on the waiting list ever since,” said David Hannah, associate vice-president of student and enrolment services. “This year we made the list, so that’s great for U of S faculty, staff and students.”
This funding will go towards a multi-year plan to double the number of childcare spaces on campus, currently at 110, explained Hannah, adding that additional funding will still be needed. “The amount the government has committed won’t cover the whole cost of creating 110 new childcare spots, but it is certainly a very important first step to increasing the available spots at the university,” he said. “The next step is to determine where else we can secure funding.”
Childcare at the university has come under scrutiny recently, mainly because there simply are not enough spaces to meet demand. “This is such an important first step towards putting this together because there is a big need on campus for more spaces,” said Hannah, who is also head of the steering committee looking at options for increasing the number of childcare spaces on campus. “But right now the next step is determining how big the difference is between what we have and what we need to finance the new spaces.”
When the funding for these new spaces is determined and finalized, he explained, the next step is to find locations for the new spaces. “We have been exploring a number of options, including expanding one or both of the existing centres, renovating other spaces on campus or building a new childcare centre. Childcare is important to the recruitment and retention of students, staff and faculty and their success, so we are very appreciative for this funding from the provincial government.”