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State Building Commission approves new Children's Center

RELEASED: Dec. 16, 2010

EAU CLAIRE — A new $3.8 million Children's Center at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was approved Dec. 15 by the State Building Commission.

The new 14,709-square-foot facility will replace the current Children's Center housed in UW-Eau Claire's Campus School, which will be razed to make way for the university's new Education Building.

"We're pleased that the new Children's Center project will move forward," said Jodi Thesing-Ritter, UW-Eau Claire associate dean of students and chair of the Children's Center Steering Committee. "The new facility will allow us to bring all of our child care services under one roof and increase our capacity to provide services for the children of our students, faculty and staff."

UW-Eau Claire's current Children's Center provides infant and toddler care in rented space at an off-campus location because it has neither the capacity nor the code compliance to serve those age groups at its Campus School site, Thesing-Ritter said. The new facility will contain 11 classrooms (with the possible addition of a 12th, depending on the outcome of the construction bidding process) to accommodate all age groups, and its capacity will be 144 children, up from the current on-campus center's capacity of 95.

The new Children's Center will be built just east of UW-Eau Claire's Human Sciences and Services Building on Water Street. It will occupy a portion of the current location of the Haas Fine Arts parking lot, which will be reconfigured to the east in conjunction with the Children's Center project to retain the lot's parking capacity. UW-Eau Claire parking fees will cover the cost of the parking lot reconstruction.

The Children's Center's new location will allow the center to use the services of campus clinics in the Human Sciences and Services Building, including the Campus Autism Program, Human Development Center and Center for Communication Disorders, Thesing-Ritter said.

Student segregated fees and user fees will cover the costs of the new Children's Center. Finalization of design plans for the facility is the next step in the project, Thesing-Ritter said, and bids for the project will be sought in March. Construction on the project is expected to begin in May.

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JP/DW

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