Campus child care options explored

The U of S has commissioned architectural drawings for new child care spaces on campus, and is exploring funding options with the goal of obtaining board approval this spring to move ahead.

"We are working on two major sets of activities, completing preliminary design work and developing a funding plan for the expanded facilities," said David Hannah, associate-vice president student affairs, speaking of the Child Care Steering Committee's work in the coming months. "Expanding the daycare space in the Education Building and constructing a new purpose-built child care centre within the College Quarter are options we are exploring."

Part of the investigation of space includes studying the feasibility of using the seed barn located on the south side of College Drive. "The architects are looking at this as a potential site, but the barn is more than 100 years old and would need to be relocated and renovated, so it might not be feasible at all."

Whichever plan is deemed to best meet the needs of the campus community, Hannah continued, all efforts will be made to ensure the new space will be environmentally sustainable.

The goal is to double the number of child-care spaces at the university, Hannah explained, and that takes not just space, but also money. Last May, the provincial government committed about $1.4 million to expanding child-care spaces at the U of S.

"We estimate total cost of this project to be around $4.3 million, so we will be pursuing funding from a number of sources including the university, existing daycare centres and a fundraising campaign which will be underway shortly," he continued.

Once funding is in place and the initial plans and location receive board approval, the committee will work toward final board approval before moving forward with construction, Hannah said. "There is a lot that needs to be done even before initial board approval is sought, but planning, investigating and design work is underway."

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