Construction of new campus child-care facility advances

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MAP CDC 450UAB plans to construct a new, larger child development center — on property adjacent to its existing facility — and open in summer 2023.Pending additional approvals of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, UAB will construct a new, larger child development center to serve more than twice as many children — including infants — targeted to open in summer 2023. The UA System Board of Trustees gave the project Stage II approval during its meeting Feb. 4.

UAB’s existing Child Development Center accommodates 92 children and has operated at capacity since it opened in 1995. Demand has increased as the number of employees has grown, and the result has been a long waiting list — especially for infants. A Childcare Taskforce convened in 2016 worked several years to assess employee needs and develop short- and long-term solutions that included construction of a new, larger facility.

“This project will be an immediate benefit the day it opens, and we are excited to get started,” said UAB’s Chief Human Resources Officer Janet May. “We know that on-campus child care improves our ability to recruit and retain top faculty and staff and helps bring work-life balance to employees with small children.”

The planned one-story building will accommodate approximately 202 children, ages 6 weeks to 6 years, and will include 40 slots for infants. The facility, expected to be completed in summer 2023 – pending further Board approvals – is planned to provide 18,000 square feet of classroom and operational space and include indoor and outdoor recreation areas.

BREMSS building 3The now-vacant Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Building at the northwest corner of 12th Avenue South and 16th Street will be demolished to make room for the new child care center.The now-vacant Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Building at the northwest corner of 12th Avenue South and 16th Street will be demolished to make room for the new center. When the new center is built, the existing one will be demolished and replaced with a new surface parking lot. The total project cost of $7,450,000 will be funded by proceeds of a UAB bond issue and UAB Finance and Administration reserve funds.

“This project provides UAB an opportunity to offer the highest quality child care and maximum convenience for our employees with a solution that is practical and financially sustainable,” said Brian Burnett, senior vice president for Finance and Administration. “We appreciate the work of the task force and faculty and staff throughout campus whose input and effort shaped this proposal.”

In spring 2017, UAB entered into corporate sponsorships with several accredited child care centers to make spaces available to UAB employees, some of those at a discount, while it pursued plans to build a new facility. KinderCare, a national leader in childcare and early childhood education, is among those offering discounted  services. UAB faculty, staff and students can get reduced tuition at any KinderCare center in the state. During its September 2020 meeting, the Board of Trustees also approved a management-services agreement with KinderCare to operate UAB’s Child Development Center through 2024.

UAB Child Development Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, one of only 12 in the Birmingham metro area, and the five-year accreditation was reaffirmed in October 2021. KinderCare, which also operates its own NAEYC-accredited centers, will maintain NAEYC accreditation during its tenure managing UAB’s center.