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NKU Announces a Partnership for an On-Campus Child Care Center

Northern Kentucky University announced an agreement with a local non-profit to continue operating the early childhood learning center on the Highland Heights campus. The local non-profit has operated an early childhood learning center on the University of Cincinnati campus for more than 25 years as the UC Early Learning Center (UCELC).
 
UCELC has applied to the Kentucky Division of Regulated Childcare for licensure and approval to assume ownership of the NKU Early Childhood Center (ECC). The NKU location of the Early Learning Center is anticipated to begin operating sometime in July; however, ECC will continue to operate under NKU’s ownership until required state approvals are received.
 
“We are fortunate to have found a strong partner that has a long history of providing excellent childcare and early childhood learning on a university campus in our metropolitan area,” said Gerry St. Amand, NKU interim president. “The Early Learning Center will provide a meaningful service to our students, faculty and staff. I’m pleased we reached an agreement with them to continue to offer high-quality child care on our campus.”
 
"The partnership with NKU is a great opportunity to serve families in northern Kentucky and continue high-quality care in a university setting,” said Kelly Bigham, executive director of the UC Early Learning Center. “We look forward to working with the university for a smooth transition with minimal impact to the families."
 
While NKU notified the campus of the ECC’s closure in the spring to allow time for finding alternative care, NKU officials remained vigilant in their search to find other child care solutions for the families impacted.
 
“We kept looking for viable options and also ways to secure discounts at other child care facilities,” said Dr. Dan Nadler, vice president of Student Affairs. “This opportunity with UCELC developed as a result of those continued efforts and is a win-win for both sides. They have been looking to expand to serve more families in the area, and our center was in need of an operator.”
 
NKU extended the operations of the ECC, keeping the center open while the agreement with the Early Learning Center is finalized. This agreement is the culmination of a process that began in 2015 when NKU formed a task force to evaluate the ECC. They found that its expenses were projected to rise, while its staffing model was “financially unsustainable.” NKU is working with UCELC to finalize details, such as rates and the name of the on-campus center.
 
“The UCELC has a long history of providing non-profit child care on UC’s campus. I’m confident we have a strong foundation to continue building the future of early childhood education here on NKU’s campus,” said Dr. Nadler.
 
-Staff report