WVU% is expected to break ground on the campus child care center this fall.)

West Virginia University is on track to have a campus child care center and new nursery school by fall 2009.

The WVU Board of Governors recently (June 6) approved the location and a $8 million budget for the WVU Early Childhood Center. The facilities will be built on University-owned land adjacent to Krepps Park at the corner of Patteson Drive and Jerry West Blvd.The project approval coincides with the naming of an architect, Omni AssociatesArchitects of Fairmont.

According to officials, the project will be sent out to bid this month with construction expected to begin in Septemberwhen BOPARC activities have slowed. A late summer ground breaking is planned.

President Garrison announced WVU s commitment to building a child care center last Octoberfollowing literally decades of discussion of this issue at WVU . He and Mrs. Garrison identified it as a top priority for our campus,said Narvel Weese, vice president for administration and finance.Since that time, this administration has heard from many faculty, staff and students who are appreciative of what this project will do to improve their academic and work-life balance. We also know that a campus child care center will serve as an important benefit in attracting and retaining a world-class workforce.

The proposed 19,000 square foot child care center will have spaces available for 180 pre-school children, as well as space for 30 school-age children for after school programs. In addition, the existing Nursery School located on Rawley Lane on the Evansdale Campus will be replaced by a new 4,000 square-foot facility constructed adjacent to the new center. The project features secure playground areas, exterior landscaping and greenery in the parking lot to enhance the natural green space in the park.

The final plans are representative of community and university input, Weese noted.The original land use plans were modified significantly based on feedback received over the past several months from BOPARC , local government officials and neighborhood association members,he added.

Morgantown residents will likely see activity at the site later this week when the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) begins piping for the water and sewage systems for the new facilities. WVU has been working closely with MUB officials to ensure that there will be minimal impact on BOPARC visitors.

Weese also said a traffic study, recently shared with the Morgantown Traffic Commission, concluded that the existing roadway has adequate capacity to support future traffic generated by the new facilities. The study, conducted by DESMAN Associates of McClean, Va., examined the traffic flow at the intersection where Patteson Drive meets Laurel Street.I hope this study will reassure area residents that the child care project will not negatively impact traffic in this area,Weese said.

WVU is currently in contract negotiations with a child care provider to operate the new center, he added.In addition, a recently-formed Child Care Advisory Committee (CCAC) will be responsible for general oversight of the performance of the child care center and assessment of the degree to which the providers management and operations are meeting the needs of the University. The CCAC , which will include a student representative and representatives from all employee groups, is being chaired by Liz Reynolds, associate vice president for planning and treasury operations.