On-campus child care possible; funds, space needed

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A new day care concept for Dixie State College has been put into consideration, but funding and space may leave it on the back burner for a while.

Donna Dillingham-Evans, vice president of academic services, said as of right now the concept is in the discussion and planning stage.

“With how busy I’ve been over the hype of university status, I haven’t been able to really sit down and write out a plan,” Dillingham-Evans said. “But we have a basic idea of what we need to do.”

Dillingham-Evans said having an on-campus day care for students and faculty could cost $25,000 to $50,000, which is a substantial amount of money.

“The only thing the college provides right now is an early education preschool,” Dillingham-Evans said.

Single mother Makayla McDonald, a sophomore biology major from St. George, said it’s difficult finding a place for her daughter to go every day.

“One of my friends usually watches my daughter, Josie, during my day classes, and my dad watches her during my night classes,” McDonald said. “But it’d be a lot less stressful if I could just bring her to school with me.”

McDonald said she’s worked out a good schedule for her daughter, but she understands how hard it can be on the people around her.

“The school really needs some type of day care,” McDonald said. “I understand how frustrating it can be as a parent.”

Dillingham-Evans said the first necessity is to get students and student officials engaged in the idea.

“Adding to student fees could provide us with the money, but that still leaves us with a lack of space for the day care,” Dillingham-Evans said.

Dillingham-Evans said she’s talked to some of the student government staff, but while they like the idea, there is so much change going on they haven’t had the time to go after it.

Bubba Hill, a desk worker at the Student Activities Center and sophomore general education major from Syracuse, said children are allowed in the SAC if they are accompanied by parents.

“We are not babysitters, so we cannot watch the kids if they’re just left alone,” Hill said. “We’d get in trouble if we just let a bunch of kids in here without their parents.”

Hill said children are allowed to use all of the facilities the center offers, but it’s not a substitution for a day care.

Teresa Provost, the preschool coordinator at the college, said the preschool is for student observations only.

“Our preschool is not free,” Provost said. “So even if students wanted to drop their kids off at school or at preschool, it’s not government-funded, so it costs quite a bit of money.”

Provost said she deals with calls from single parents who need a place to drop off their children all the time.

“You can tell how frustrated they get,” Provost said. “It’s extremely frustrating to them that the school offers nothing to help.”

Provost said she’d help with the day care if the concept turned into reality.

“I’ve heard things about the day care concept but only recently,” Provost said. “It’s definitely becoming a necessity as the college grows.”

Dillingham-Evans said she still needs to grapple with the concept before she determines any plan of action.

“We really want to do it, but it’s a matter of money,” Evans said. “We hope it happens in the future.”