After decades of discussion and planning, West Virginia University will move quickly to build a campus child care center, President Mike Garrison said Wednesday.

Garrison displayed a stack of reports and studiessome yellowing with ageand told a crowd of children and adults:Its time to act.

The crowdgathered at Blaney House, the presidents residenceincluded his wife, Heather, and their daughters, Julia, 4, and Gabriella, 2. He asked the Universitys first lady to lead the effort.

Heather Garrison will co-chair a 17-person implementation team with Associate Vice President for Facilities and Services Joe Fisher with the goal of identifying a location for the facility and soliciting proposals by January for professional child care organizations to build and operate it.

Many of you know Heather as the Universitys first lady and as Julia and Gabbies mother, but she also is a very accomplished attorney who will bring her business and organizational skills to this group,Garrison said.Joe Fisher is co-chairing the team because he has shown over and over again that he can take ideas and convert them to bricks and mortarthe evidence of that is all over our campus.

The implementation teams job, he noted, will be to take the results of all the studies, including the work of the most recent WVU Child Care Task Force, and determine what is achievable in the shortest possible time frame.

We cannot compete for students, for faculty and for staff without creating a more family-friendly campus, and this (center) will be another important step in that direction,he said.

The team will look at operating hours, infant care, flexibility in scheduling and the centers financial relationship to the University, Garrison said.

Heather Garrison also thanked the Child Care Task Force, led by Associate Vice President for Finance Dan Durbin, for its recent work that analyzed both student and employee demand for child care.

The report indicated a potential of between 700-900 preschool-age children of our students and employees who are in need of some sort of care,she said.Parents in Morgantown know that waiting lists at the private child care centers can be months and years long.

We must take up our responsibility to the community and contribute to the solution,she added.

She also thanked the generations of WVU students, faculty and staff who have pushed this issueparticularly the momsfor not letting this idea die.

Other members of the implementation team are:

  • Sam Ameri , Chair and Professor, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Chair, Faculty Senate Welfare Committee
  • Beth Belch, WVU Law Student (Former Student Body Vice President)
  • Toni Christian, Director of Benefits, Human Resources
  • Dan Durbin, Associate Vice President for Finance
  • Betty Fox, Associate Director, Procurement, Contracts and Payment Services
  • Leslie Haning, Director, Child Development and Family Support Services
  • Kristina Hash, Assistant Professor, Division of Social Work, School of Applied Social Sciences, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
  • Beth Gallon Lefevre, Developmental Advising Specialist, College of Human Resources and Education
  • Steven Marra, Information Technology Consultant Senior, Technical Support Services, Office of Information Technology
  • Jennifer McIntosh, Executive Officer for Social Justice and Director, Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Programs
  • Rob Moyer, Director of Facilities Planning
  • Jason Parsons, WVU Student Body Vice President
  • Liz Reynolds, Associate Vice President for Planning and Treasury Operations
  • Sheila Seccurro, Executive Director of Compensation, Human Resources
  • Bobbie Warash, Professor of Child Development and Family Studies, Director of WVU Child Development Laboratory