Location of the WSU Children’s Center within university structure will be decided by faculty, President Elson S. Floyd said Monday. But plans to renovate the facilities to accommodate more children must move quickly, he added.
Floyd gave his first public remarks regarding November recommendations from a task force studying the future of the children’s center.  Approximately 40 task force members, children’s center teachers, parents and others attended the meeting.
Floyd appointed the task force in May after he committed $1 million for capital improvements to the center.
The task force recommended five action items, including renovations to increase infant and toddler capacity by 25 children. This would include adding two classrooms and a restroom to the existing center and remodeling an area in Cleveland Hall.
Another recommendation is to move the center from the auspices of student affairs, equity and diversity to the human development department. Floyd and Provost Robert Bates said such a move needs to be thoroughly studied by the impacted deans and faculty.
  
“I’m asking for sort of a time-out,” said Floyd. “We need to think carefully about what academic integration of the children’s center really means for the children, faculty and staff.  I want the process to be driven by faculty.” 
“It needs to be considered as part of our effort to determine overall institutional priorities,” said Bates, referring to what is formally called the Academic Affairs Program Prioritization Initiative. Faculty members and unit leaders are involved in a multi-step process to identify areas within the university that may be strengthened and others that may need to be reduced or eliminated.
 
Bates said it is possible decisions might be made on where the task force’s recommendations fall in the list of institutional priorities by the end of spring semester, but many factors could cause a delay.
Floyd made it clear that planning for facility renovations cannot be delayed, stating that detailed plans for utilizing the $1 million must be in place by summer 2009. 
 
The task force also recommended:
* Merging the center with the child development laboratory (CDL).
* Utilizing CDL students in classrooms to reduce reliance on work-study and time-slip employees.
* Relocating the school-aged child care program to Cleveland Hall.
The task force determined the identity of the children’s center is too limiting, and not entirely accurate, since many academic programs utilize the center for instruction. Therefore, it recommended moving the center to human development where “its role in providing instructional, research and outreach opportunities would be clearly defined.”
The center first began operating in 1978 specifically to serve children of students. It expanded to include children of faculty and staff in 1994 when it moved to Olympia Avenue.