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Child-care center management selection process to begin

Senior university administrators will establish a universitywide selection committee to evaluate and recommend either a non-profit or a for-profit child-care management firm to operate Miami’s $2.5 million child-care center. The selection committee will make the final recommendation to the president’s executive council for approval to enter into a long-term contract with the chosen firm.

The selection committee, chaired by Adolph Haislar, senior vice president of auxiliary services, will include representatives from UPAC, CPAC, faculty welfare, the purchasing office, the School of Education and Allied Professions, the child studies lab and Miami’s child-care coalition. The committee will develop a request for proposals (RFP) outlining all of Miami’s requirements and expectations for operation of the center. The major requirements specified in the RFP document are demonstration of a firm’s reputation for innovative curriculum; record of quality operations, teacher training and services; record of providing interactive staff who are flexible and innovative in using various teaching techniques; reputation for being family-centered; and provision for year-round childcare options for parents.

The selection process will be based on written proposals, reference checks, site visits for the top three or four firms and oral presentations to the selection committee. The oral presentations will be open to the university community.

It is hoped that on-campus oral presentations and the final recommendation of a firm will be completed in May, with awarding of a contract in July. The schedule could be extended to September if necessary.

Other universities have selected national management providers for their on-campus child-care centers while maintaining quality of teachers and educational programs. Miami will require advanced degrees for the directors and bachelor’s degrees for the assistant director and lead teachers to help provide consistency and quality of care and to help reduce staff turnover.

A Parent’s Advisory Council, to include parents, a university administrator and a faculty member, will monitor the management firm’s performance and be responsible for ongoing operational and curriculum assessment.

Groundbreaking for the 14,400-sq. ft. center, to be located on the southeast corner of the athletic field on Western campus directly across from Havighurst Hall, is scheduled for late spring with completion expected by June 2001. The center will seek accreditation by Ohio Human Services and, within two years, through the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Ninety-six children will be accommodated by the center. There will be two rooms for eight infants each (six weeks-12 months), two rooms for 10 toddlers each (12-24 months) and three rooms for 20 children in each of three groups: preschool one (ages two-three), preschool two (ages four-five) and preschool three (kindergarten). The center will not be able to accommodate older school-age children during snow days and holiday recesses.

The center will accommodate children with special physical needs and a sick room will be provided for ill children to wait in until picked up by parents. Hot lunches will be prepared on site, with a separate meal plan fee. Computer technology will be available for children to use in each classroom.

The center, which will operate year- round and during academic school breaks, will be open to Oxford community members on a space availability basis. The enrollment is projected to consist of 95 percent children of Miami faculty and staff.

The tentative hours of operation will be 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, with half-day options. The feasibility of weekend and evening care for one group of toddlers and one group of preschool children will be proposed during the selection process. Rates for the center would be negotiated with the selected management firm and will be determined by market analysis, future operation and labor costs, Miami’s subsidy level and attendance level. Current area rates for child-care range from $75 per week for kindergartners to $135 per week for infants.

Miami’s current child studies laboratory in Hanna House will close after the new child-care center opens. All children currently enrolled at Hanna House will be given priority admittance into the new center, with a waiting list used to fill the remainder of the openings. To place a name on a waiting list, contact Rene McKinstry at Hanna House at 9-5018.

Date Published: 03/23/2000
Volume: 19   Number: 29

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