Grand Opening of UVU’s New Wee Care Center To Provide Child Care For More Student Parents
September 25, 2013
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Whitney Wilkinson
Written by: Heather Wrigley
Utah Valley University President Matthew S. Holland will join community members, donors and university administrators at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, to cut the ribbon on the institution’s new, expanded childcare center, which has been formally named the Wee Care Center: Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation.
“This expansion to the Wee Care Center shows UVU’s commitment to encourage higher education for all,” President Holland said. “With these enhanced services, UVU students — particularly underserved students with children — will have access to safe, flexible, quality child care on campus. The center provides a much-needed resource for many of our students, helping them finish a degree, and do so more quickly, thus improving their lives and the lives of their families.”
With more than double the capacity of the original facility, the new Wee Care Center provides critically needed classroom space and roomier play and napping areas. The two-story building increases the square footage per child from 35 to 45, and will be able to accommodate approximately 120 children at any given time. The new center includes eight classrooms, a kitchen and multi-purpose area, staff offices and two age-appropriate playgrounds.
The Wee Care Center, located at 1138 S. 400 West in Orem, UT, is state-licensed and serves children ages six weeks to 12 years. Features like a low child-to-teacher ratio and nutritious meals and snacks make the center a unique place for children to learn and play.
The center was founded in 2001 in a small older home. However, students’ needs quickly outpaced the building’s maximum service capacity. The fundraising campaign for an expanded facility was launched in March 2012 at the inaugural Women’s Leadership Luncheon, hosted by UVU first lady Paige Holland.
Private funds supported the entire construction cost of the new Wee Care Center, which was made possible by a $2 million lead donation from the Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation and contributions from more than 100 other benefactors.
“When we came to UVU, we wanted to do all we could to improve the lives of students and help them achieve their goals,” Paige Holland said. “The Wee Care Center is a wonderful resource for students and their families. We are so grateful for the support of Barbara Barrington Jones and many others.”
The Wee Care Center has been integral in increasing higher education access and opportunities to women — something President Holland has invested in since he came to UVU in 2009.
Utah lags behind other states in terms of postsecondary participation rates for women, and one of the challenges Utah women face is the need for affordable and reliable child care. A recent statewide study of women and higher education (the Utah Women and Education Project) directed by Susan Madsen, a UVU professor of management, revealed that higher education not only improves women’s financial prospects, but also enhances self-esteem, improves mothering skills, and teaches critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.
Over the years, a number of UVU students in financial need have been able to enroll in courses and complete their university education, in large part because of the Wee Care Center and its student-friendly services.