search articles: 

   from the issue of February 8, 2007

Lease termination shifts University Child Care to closure


UNL announced Jan. 31 the closure of the University Child Care program following a decision by the Lincoln YWCA to terminate a lease agreement with the university.

The YWCA notified UNL that the university's lease for the space now used for the child care program will cease May 31. UNL's child care center at the YWCA location will be open through April 27.

The chancellor however vowed to continue efforts to find a permanent child care solution.

The university informed parents of child care children and affected employees Jan. 30, with a note to faculty, staff and students from chancellor Harvey Perlman Jan. 31.

"Parents have the option to stay with YWCA; YWCA will take over the space and offer its own care," said Chris Jackson, vice chancellor for Business and Finance. "Parents also have options to engage alternatives. We want to do everything we can to assure parents find suitable child care for their families."

Currently 96 children are cared for at the university's child care center: 59 from UNL faculty/staff and students; 37 from the community. Nine regular full-time UNL employees and some 65 student workers were affected.

Bruce Currin, assistant vice chancellor of Human Resources, met with University Child Care employees.

"We are extremely proud of our child care staff and we are thankful to all of them for their hard work and dedication," he said. "We are sorry that the decision to close UNL's child care affects them. We wish that this didn't need to happen. We want the best for all of these employees and so hopefully we can work with them to find suitable replacement positions." Many may be eligible for employment at the new YWCA-run center.

Parents and affected employees expressed their frustration - so did administrators.

"One of the biggest disappointments I've had as chancellor has been our inability to secure an on-campus child care center. It was particularly discouraging to me, and I know to many of you, when the cost estimates for Whittier North escalated and that plan had to be put on hold," he said in his e-mail. Perlman announced in September 2005 that a child care center in the Whittier building was under development. However, in June 2006 the cost of development - $3.1 million - far exceeded the original estimate of $1.35 million, and that alternative was shelved.

Perlman indicated a university child care center is still on the horizon: Plans for a university-run, campus-based center are still being explored.

"We continue to work hard on this project and I remain hopeful that we will soon be able to address Whittier North and will have a center that will be exceptional." In his e-mail, Perlman outlined an approach that will combine a "quality care" and child "development program."

Jackson said ideas are welcome.

"Chancellor Perlman and administration will continue to seek and consider any and all options for siting and staffing a UNL child care center," she said. "It was one of the university's major priorities for 2005 and 2006, and will continue to be, until the matter is resolved."

The University Child Care center has operated at the YWCA since 1990.



Campus Child Care
Tool links students to majors, careers
Big 12 student event to draw 1,200 to Lincoln
COJMC students begin depth report into German-American relations
Hewit Place galleries remain closed
Lease termination shifts University Child Care to closure
Research initiative takes aim at several federal agencies
UNL land purchase to help farmers, ranchers deal with using less water