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2/18/2012 12:33:00 PM
Indiana University Northwest closing child-care center in July

Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune

GARY — Indiana University Northwest is closing its on-campus Child Care Center on July 1 because of low demand and an operating deficit.

Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harold Burtley announced the move Friday.

“This is something we do reluctantly,” Burtley said in a statement. “For 25 years, the Child Care Center has provided an affordable, high-quality child-care experience for students, employees and local residents who wanted it, and IU Northwest has been happy to serve that need.”

The university began offering child-care services to students, faculty and the community in 1987. Its operation began in a donated house on the campus’ south side. It moved into a new building at 35th Avenue and Washington Street in 2001 when its increasing enrollment made the move to a larger facility necessary.

In recent years, demand for campus child care has declined, even as the campus’ enrollment has increased by 25 percent since 2008. This year, officials said the center serves 38 children, 28 of whom attend part-time.

Burtley said lack of demand for the service has resulted in a growing operating deficit. This year, operating costs for the Child Care Center will exceed revenue by an estimated $80,000. Student activity fees fund much of that expense, he said.

“We are called upon by the State of Indiana and Indiana University to use the funds collected through student fees as responsibly and efficiently as possible,” Burtley said. “We cannot continue to provide a large subsidy for a service that attracts relatively little student demand.”

The Child Care Center employs nine full- and part-time staff members. They were informed of the decision to close the center Monday. Parents of the enrolled students were notified this week. The center staff will assist client families in finding convenient alternate arrangements.

“There are not many students who will be affected by the closure, but we will work with those students to ensure that the loss of on-campus child care does not adversely impact their academic progress,” Burtley said.

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