The Times West Virginian

In Today's TWV

January 17, 2008

Friendly to families

WVU aggressively working to establish child-care center

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University is one step closer to achieving its newest endeavor: a child-care center.

The new center is projected to be open in summer 2009.

On Wednesday, the 17-member initiation committee, co-chaired by first lady Heather Garrison, announced plans are moving forward.

“We are seeking a third-party provider and looking for a potential site” for the center, Garrison said.

She said the committee has created a a request for proposal, or RFP, which will be used to identify a state-of-the-art provider to operate WVU’s new center.

Joe Fisher, co-chair of the committee and WVU associate vice president for facilities, said the university will build and maintain the building to house the center, and a private company will be brought in to run the facility.

Garrison noted the committee was split into three parts: one for facilities, one for policy and one to create the RFP. The team spent quite a bit of time traveling to different institutions to check out their child-care centers, including the University of Kentucky, Penn State, Ruby Memorial Hospital and the FBI center in Clarksburg. She said the traveling gave the committee lots of ideas.

“It was an educational experience,” Garrison said. “We learned a lot about what we didn’t want.”

One of the results of the research was the committee decided it would be in the university’s best interests to bring in an outside contractor to run the center. Garrison said there are a number of challenges associated with creating a child-care center from the ground up.

“We’ve never done this before, and we wanted someone with experience,” she said. “We wanted the experts to put together the best facility and care possible.”

The committee was announced Oct. 3 and met for the first time Nov. 9.

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