Child Development Center building reopens

Janine Ybanez/HIGHLANDER
Janine Ybanez/HIGHLANDER

The Child Development Center (CDC) reopened Building A on Feb. 2, four months after its closure last October due to a mold infestation. Children attending the CDC daycare who previously had to relocate to either Building B or the community center in UCR Family Housing have returned to their respective buildings.

The reopening of the facility was delayed several times, with Dec. 6 and Jan. 26 both given as dates for the opening. This delay was caused by the building not passing final inspections until the latter deadline, according to Director of Media Relations Kris Lovekin.

While the building was closed, the center had to accommodate an influx of children being added to classrooms in Building B. According to Julia Stewart, a student parent and fourth-year ethnic studies major, teacher-student ratios went from 1-to-6 to 1-to-8, which was problematic.

“With such large ratios, I felt that my child and others were not getting the attention they need. The sleeping space was really crowded and there was no room to effectively roam,” Stewart explained.

In addition, Sharee Hughes, a fourth-year psychology law and society major and student parent program assistant at the Women’s Resource Center, felt that the center was not being transparent at the time of Building A’s closure back in October. According to Hughes, this changed when students spoke up about the lack of communication.

“We, the parents, spoke up that we were not pleased with not being told of the changes while the changes were happening. As soon as we voiced our opinion, the director (of CDC) Renee (Jacobs) started sending parents weekly updates,” Hughes said.

In response to other problems such as childcare displacement that arose during the shutdown, student organizations such as R’Kids — an organization which advocates for programs and provides resources for student parents — reached out to help parents who were temporarily displaced by the closure.

“We organized a system during the closure where we organized in a HUB room and parents who didn’t have class would watch after the kids and those who did would go to class and leave their kids with another student parent, like babysitting,” Hughes, who is also vice president of R’Kids, explained.

While the parents have been able to transition into the building and classrooms, the center has not commented on others affected by the closure, such as the 28 student workers who were laid off. The CDC has previously stated that they may ask student workers to return if there is enough demand.

With the reopening of the building, Hughes added that she and her son are “home now, we’re driving into the parking lot we’re used to, we’re walking into the same doors that we’re used too, so it seems like it’s going to be a smooth transition.”

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