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A Growth Spurt for UC Child Care Center

Date: Oct. 30, 2001
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos by Colleen Kelley
Archive: General News

As expansion of the UC Child Care Center on Ruther Avenue takes shape, the youngest members of the University of Cincinnati community are learning about the art and mechanics of construction through play in their own classrooms. A cardboard cutout serves as their building under construction, and they have their own hardhats, work vests, plastic hammers and plastic saws. Left to right: Benjamin Gray II, Chaim Tllinghast and Mirey Binford

The groundbreaking for the expansion of the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Center was held April 3. Sally Wehby, director of UC Child Care Center, Inc., is expecting the addition to open sometime in Feb.

Wehby says UC Child Care's existing building is 6,000 square feet, and the construction will more than triple the size of the center to 19,000 square feet. "Presently we can take 86 children and the addition will open the center to potentially 149 children," she says. "We're adding one infant classroom, one toddler classroom, two preschool classrooms and one school-age classroom." Interior of expansion site

Wehby adds the rooms are state-of-the-art, modeled after the center's existing classrooms. The infant section will house cribs, a changing table and areas for clothing and baby supplies, such as car seats. It will also have a kitchenette to heat up baby bottles and prepare baby foods.

"There's lots of room for toddlers to play and be active, and different areas of the classroom are set up for different types of play. They'll have a little cubby for their coats and personal items and there will be a storage area for the cots used at naptime." Sally Wehby, director, UC Child Care Center, Inc.

The lower level will hold the large muscle room and no, this is not a tyke version of weights and benches, full-length mirrors and little Arnold Schwarzeneggers and Zena warrior princesses. At preschool age, children are still learning how to work little arms, legs and fingers. The muscle room gives them a wide-open space to run, jump, and climb, thereby building motor development. Workers at expansion site. The gray bridge will link the original center with the new expansion

Wehby adds the addition was designed with an infant, child and preschool section on the east wing of the building to still give the larger building a small-center, personal feeling. "Theoretically, a child can start here as an infant and just remain in the same cozy group as they move into different age levels at the center."

The expansion, 10 years in the planning, is supported by a $250,000 gift from Fifth Third Bank's Charlotte R. Schmidlapp fund, named in memory of the daughter of Fifth Third's founder, Jacob Schmidlapp. The child care center also bears Charlotte Schmidlapp's name, a tribute to the Schmidlapp family's commitment to the children of Cincinnati. The grant for the expansion is the largest outside grant ever to be awarded to the center.

More recently, the center was the recipient of a federal grant that will help assist low-income UC students who wish to place their children in the UC Child Care Center. The grant program, titled Child Care Access Means Parents in School, awarded $95,332 to UC Child Care, with potential renewal over four years. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education provides 20 percent of the funding to assist low-income post secondary students with children in child care, and 80 percent of the funding is established through efforts of UC Child Care. The project provides $468,362 annually for scholarships, supplies and personnel for expansion of the center. Benjamin Gray, II, front and Mirey Binford

President Joseph A. and Mrs. Carole R. Steger will host a Champagne Toast Celebrating the UC Child Care Center Friday, Nov. 2, 6-8 p.m. at Kingsgate Conference Center in thanks of their support.Tickets are $40 with all proceeds benefiting the center. The event will feature sparkling wines from around the world.

The UC Child Care Center is a nationally accredited agency. With the completion of the expansion, the center will serve children ranging in age from three months to eight years old, providing services to the UC community and the Cincinnati community.

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