Tech to Build Childcare Center
May 2, 2006—
The Board of Trustees authorized a $500,000 bond issue Friday, April 28, to establish a childcare center on campus.
The center will address a longstanding need at the university, according to Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. “For years, our faculty and staff have discussed establishing affordable, quality childcare on campus,” he said. “In particular, this is a matter of critical importance in attracting and retaining new faculty, many of whom have young children.”
One of the university’s main strategic goals is to support a world-class and diverse faculty, staff and student population. “To do this, we need to provide an outstanding work environment, and part of that is providing access to child care,” Mroz said. “This will allow us to be more competitive with other universities offering such facilities.”
"The need was readily understood by those already at Michigan Tech as well as those who were considering Michigan Tech for an education or a career," Mroz added. "The Michigan Tech Childcare Board has been persistent in pursuing this issue for over 15 years, and we thank all those who have served, particularly the present chair, Sue Beske-Diehl. In the end, she and the committee teamed up with Ellen Horsch and Teresa Coleman-Kaiser to get buy in at all levels of the university to bring this proposal forward for action."
The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University and Wayne State University all have childcare centers on campus.
Construction is expected to begin this summer on the center, which will be located on MacInnes Drive, between the Student Development Complex and the USDA Forest Service’s Forestry Science Lab. The tentative opening date is set for January 2007.
As currently planned, the center is expected to accommodate 40 children, from infants through preschool. A recent survey of students, faculty and staff with young children indicated that they would be interested in enrolling 62 children at the center.
While the largest share of the center’s expenses will be covered by tuition paid by participating parents, the university expects to partially support its operations. This cost should be mitigated in part by reduced employee turnover, which can be very expensive, according to the Michigan Tech Childcare Board. It can cost the university from $62,000 to $175,000 in recruitment and start-up expenses to hire one faculty member, and a 1996 survey of Michigan Tech faculty and staff showed that the parents of 41 young children had seriously thought of quitting the university because of inadequate child care.
The university won’t have any trouble enrolling children in the center, said Sue Beske-Diehl, chair of the Michigan Tech Childcare Board and a professor of geological engineering and sciences. “One of the Childcare Board members has already had someone asking how to get his kids on the waiting list,” she said. “Parents are already clamoring to get on board.”
She predicted that the center will prove to be a sound financial decision as well as a benefit for employee who are parents.
“Besides being the right thing to do to help employees and students cope with parenthood, it’s also a good business decision,” Beske-Diehl said. “It costs an employer from one to one-and-a-half times an employee’s annual salary to replace them, and with faculty, it’s even more, because of startup funds. In the long run, a childcare center will save the university money.”
For more information on the childcare center, visit http://www.mtu.edu/childcare .
Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.