Building a child-care facility in the next few years to meet a critical demand is one of Kansas University's top goals, according to Executive Vice Chancellor Ed Meyen.
"We will be seeking private support for a child-care facility. That is going to be one of the major post-Campaign Kansas goals," he told members of the University Senate Executive Committee on Thursday.
Campaign Kansas was a five-year fund drive that generated $262.9 million in donations for KU, the most successful university or college drive in state history. The drive ended this year.
Plans for a child-care facility may be included in a comprehensive, long-range master plan that will be developed starting in January, Meyen said. Such a facility could be established in an existing building, but Meyen said KU officials more likely would seek to construct a new building.
MEYEN AND Allen Wiechert, university director of facilities planning, announced at the SenEx meeting that a KU master plan would be developed during the next two years and would include student housing, libraries, parking and child care.
Meyen said details of where a child-care facility could be built, capacity of such a facility and cost would be determined as planners receive input. A timetable for such a facility has not been set, he said.
"The child-care issue is a lot more than finding more space for Hilltop," Meyen said.
Hilltop Child Development Center, located east of the Kansas Union, is a primary child-care center at KU. Child care also is offered on campus through some programs at the Dole Human Development Center.
MORE THAN 200 children are on a waiting list for Hilltop services. Hilltop has about 140 spaces to serve the child-care needs of KU employees and students.
"The big issue is the long-term planning," he said.
Meyen said he was optimistic that KU supporters would donate funds for the child-care center.
In the meantime, he said, KU will look for short-term solutions. He cautioned that KU must do more than "find Band-Aid solutions" for the problem.
"It's going to take a lot of cooperative effort," he said.
Hilltop director Joan Reiber said a new building for child care "would be wonderful, especially if they emphasized quality."
IDEALLY, she said, a new child-care building should house 100 to 200 children.
"If they find an existing building, then you go with the space you have," she said.
Reiber said St. Joseph and St. Luke's hospitals in Kansas City, Mo., recently built new child-care facilities at a cost of about $2.5 million each. Those facilities, she said, each are equipped to care for about 200 children and have about 21,000 square feet of space.