A half-million-dollar renovation project to add three new classrooms at the IU Campus Children's Center will allow the child care center to enroll 40 more children by 2018.
In addition to creating space to accept 10 additional toddlers, 10 2-year-olds and 20 preschoolers, the center will hire six co-teachers and 12 teacher aides.
Construction is slated to begin in August 2017. The toddler and 2-year-old classrooms are expected to open in January 2018, while the preschool classroom is scheduled to open in August 2018.
"High-quality childcare is important to our students and our employees," said Tim Dunnuck, director of IU Early Childhood Education Services. "Our families generally stay with our program unless they move out of town, so it's also an important recruitment and retention tool for the university. This expansion is a sign of a continued commitment to our campus and our families."
Providing competitive benefits and excellent working conditions for IU employees, including exploring family-friendly policies and child care opportunities, is called for in the IU Bloomington Bicentennial Strategic Plan.
The Office of the Provost will cover the costs of the renovation to ensure that cost will not be passed on to families enrolled at Campus Children's Center.
The spaces slated for expansion inside the center are a large room in the back southwest corner of the building for the toddlers and 2-year-olds and the multipurpose room in the northwest corner of the building for the preschool classroom.
The renovated rooms will have a similar feel as the rest of the center, with large, open classrooms featuring plenty of natural light and child-centered environments. New outdoor playground equipment will also be installed as part of the renovation project.
The news is good for IU families seeking childcare, something many rank among their most important parenting decisions.
"Finding child care is stressful. More high-quality opportunities are needed," said Megan Ray, associate director of the undergraduate program in the Kelley School of Business and mom of two children who attend Campus Children's Center.
"It makes me proud of IU to see the support for expanding the center. It's good for everyone: our education students, our community and our kids. At the end of the day, I do my best work because I know my kids are learning and growing while they are at CCC."
The center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, a standard that less than 10 percent of programs nationally hold. Eight of the center's full-time teachers have master's degrees, and one has a Ph.D. In addition, the center is one of the few in the state that follow a co-teacher model, meaning there are two professional, degreed teachers in each classroom, which helps lessen staff turnover. The center follows a "continuity of care" model, where co-teachers work in multi-age classrooms. A a child could conceivably have only two sets of co-teachers from birth through age 5 at the center.
The center's fiscal year 2017 budget was $912,770, the bulk of which comes from fees, 20 percent from the university and 1 percent from the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program.
The Campus Children's Center opened in 1983, and moved into its current location at 2613 E. 10th Street in 1996. The center is adjacent to the university's planned regional academic health campus, which will include a new home for the IU Health Bloomington Hospital.