Childcare Update: "Baby Bobcats" May Have Space on Campus Soon

Childcare Update: "Baby Bobcats" May Have Space on Campus Soon

In the next couple of years, UC Merced's faculty, staff and student Bobcats will be able to keep their cubs nearby as they work and study.

The pieces are falling into place for childcare on campus.

A site near the campus entrance will house the facility - in front of the pump house, near Lake Road. An advisory committee of faculty, staff and students is being formed to make recommendations about quality and affordability.

Sonia Johnston of Operations and Support Services is working on a request for proposals (RFP) for the facility itself, which could be a modular building to speed the opening of the center and leave options open for future expansion.

It's possible, for example, that we could have one building now and leave space for a mirror-image building to be added later, Johnston said. It will be exciting to see what's possible as proposals come in.

A facility director will also be hired soon. Johnston said it is important for the new director to be heavily involved in planning and fundraising for the center.

Mary Ray, the retired director of UC Santa Barbara's childcare center, is working as a consultant on hiring the director and the many other tasks related to offering this option for families.

The center will likely be able to provide care for between 50 and 85 children from infancy through the preschool years. Some children from non-UC Merced families might be accommodated, but children of faculty, staff and students will take priority.

Many faculty and staff members are excited about the childcare plans, and we think we will also find student families who will take advantage of the services, Johnston said.

A rapidly growing graduate student population may also increase demand for childcare.

In the future, the childcare center may serve as a research site for UC Merced faculty members interested in developmental psychology, language acquisition and other fields related to early childhood.

Click herefor more information about child care options available until the new facility opens.

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