New On-Campus Child Care Center Opens in Shaw Building
| The University Campus Child Care Center was opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 2.|
September 8, 2010By Alison Duffy
UMass Medical School Communications
Four decades ago, UMass Medical School took its figurative first steps when the inaugural class of 16 students met with faculty in the Shaw Building, located on the corner of Belmont Street and Lake Avenue North. How fitting, then, that the children of students, faculty and staff can now take their own first steps in the same location. In partnership with UMass Memorial Health Care, UMMS recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new University Campus Child Care Center, a bright and inviting facility on the first floor of the Shaw Building.
Operated by Bright Horizons Family Solutions, the 10,000-square-foot center at 419 Belmont St. has the capacity to care for up to 90 children from age 6 weeks to pre-kindergarten. The space includes not only a colorful outdoor playground—a secure, fenced-in space with new climbers, picnic tables, a shady area and kid-friendly landscaping—where children can develop their gross motor skills, but also separate rooms for infants, young toddlers and older toddlers, and a large central indoor play space flooded with natural light and lined with cubbies for books, toys and learning materials. (The facility was renovated with an eye toward the future and eventually could be expanded to accommodate up to 125 children.)
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held Sept. 2 and attended by leaders of both the Medical School and UMass Memorial—including human resource managers—marked the celebratory end of a long process to add to the child care facilities and services available to the hospital and school community.
“Both the hospital and Medical School recognize the importance of on-site child care in recruiting and retaining young clinicians, faculty and staff,” said John G. O’Brien, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care. “When employees are confident that their own families are safe and well cared for in a beautiful facility like this, by talented and dedicated caregivers, they are better able to focus at work and provide the excellent care our patients deserve and have come to expect.”
When Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD, and School of Medicine Dean Terence R. Flotte, MD, provost and executive deputy chancellor, arrived at UMMS in 2007, they heard loud and clear, in open forums for employees and in one-on-one meetings with faculty, that there was a need for high-quality, accessible, on-site child care. For decades, a child care center had been operated on campus in the old Jacob Hiatt Building on the corner of South Road and Plantation Street; originally established to provide child care for medical students and young faculty, the center was managed by the Medical School and then transferred to UMass Memorial oversight in 1998. Several years ago, the center was moved off campus to Lincoln Street when the Hiatt Building—a charming old house with a large, kid-friendly yard full of shade trees—required extensive renovations and costly upgrades to meet tightened regulations for child care centers.
In seeking to re-establish an on-campus center, administrators hoped to remain within what became known as “the Zamore Mile”—so named for Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Gretchen Stone Cook Chair of Biomedical Sciences and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, whose own children are alumni of the UMMS child care service and who, along with several faculty, students and staff, advocated for a center within walking distance of the main buildings. The Shaw Building was identified as an ideal site: It was large enough, was easily accessible, had ample space for an outdoor playground, and provided plenty of parking for parents picking up and dropping off their children.
Renovations began in January and were completed this summer. The space was designed by DW Arthur and Associates and constructed by the BOND group under the direction of Brian Duffy, senior project manager from UMMS. “We were fortunate to work with a number of wonderful partners on this project,” said Cheryl Lapriore, UMass Memorial chief of staff, who oversaw the project for the administration. “We also were delighted to partner with Bright Horizons, one of the largest and most respected child care organizations in the country.”
Charlotte Sudyka, director of the center, said that staff—many of whom have been with the child care center since its days in the Hiatt Building—are “excited about the new space and did a phenomenal job in easing the children’s transition from their old school to our new center.” The center has 22 employees, including 18 teachers who are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
Work-Life Senior Manager Janet Hirsch, who co-chaired the Child Care Steering Committee, applauded the Medical School and UMass Memorial for their support of an on-campus child care center. “Our senior leadership understands that having accessible, high quality child care helps employees balance the complexity of work and family. The result of having this state-of-the-art center will be more productive employees with reduced absenteeism and increased loyalty to the Medical School and UMass Memorial.
Speaking at the ribbon cutting, parent Jill A. Zitzewitz, PhD, research associate professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and member of the Child Care Center Steering Committee, recalled being recruited to UMMS when she had two toddlers and a third child on the way. “Getting my offer letter from UMass was exciting, but getting word that we had a slot in the child care center for the baby was even more important!”
Enrollment is currently open. Faculty, students and staff of the Medical School and UMass Memorial are given priority, and the community is invited to enroll children if space allows. For more information, or to visit the center, contact Business Manager Alison Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org