November 8, 2002
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A $1.9 million expansion and renovation of one of Vanderbilts two child care centers will significantly increase the number of children who can receive early childhood education and care on campus, helping to meet an employee-identified priority.
A public open house and reception, including remarks by Chancellor Gordon Gee, is scheduled Nov. 12 at 3:30 p.m. to celebrate the reopening of Stallworth Building, which houses the center on Edgehill Avenue.
The approximately 2,500-square-foot expansion will more than double the number of spaces for infants and toddlers and will allow the center to accommodate twice as many 2-year-olds, according to Diane Neighbors, director of the University and Hospital Child Care Centers.
She noted that care for infants, toddlers and twos was identified as the greatest child care need by a task force established in 1999 to consider issues that make the University, including the Medical Center, a good place to work.
Jay Groves, co-chair of the Quality of Work Life task force, said access to on-site quality child care is a powerful tool for the recruitment and retention of our workforce, about 31 percent of whom have children under the age of 18. It is critical that as Vanderbilt competes with other companies for outstanding employees that we strive to offer the best possible child care services.
In addition to the center on Edgehill Avenue, the University operates a child care center on Belcourt Avenue, which serves eighty children. Typically, the centers have a combined waiting list of 300 families. Enrollment is open to Vanderbilt faculty, staff and students. Both centers recently received three stars, the highest rank, in Tennessees new star-quality program. The voluntary program, established by the Tennessee legislature, recognizes quality child care programs operating beyond the states minimum requirements. Both are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Other improvements to the Edgehill Avenue center include the addition of four classrooms and a soft-surfaced playground specifically for infants and toddlers. There are also separate playgrounds for 2-year-olds and preschoolers.
Neighbors stated that the majority of the new staff needed to serve the additional children has been hired and others are in the process of being finalized. She anticipates that all new staff and new enrollees will be on board by the end of the month.
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