This is a follow-up to keep the campus community informed regarding the unexpected closure of the Y Preschool Center at UMBC on Sept. 18 due to water damage and related safety considerations. There have been a number of questions about the center, and we would like to provide the campus community with additional information.
How has the closure impacted UMBC families using campus child care services?
The 18 UMBC families directly impacted by the closure faced a very difficult challenge in finding alternative arrangements for their children on such short notice. Individuals and offices throughout the campus stepped up to support affected parents and families, serving as points of contact to hear needs and concerns, and assisting with referrals to other campus offices, as needed. Human Resources was able to arrange for liberal leave policies to go into effect for employees unable to make it to work in the days following the closure. The Office of Undergraduate Education worked with students affected by the closure to address any short-term academic concerns.
On behalf of the campus, we would particularly like to thank Jess Myers, director of the Women’s Center, Fritze Charne-Merriweather, special assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Jarrett Kealey, assistant director in the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Human Resources and The Women’s Center staff.
For anyone still facing concerns or challenges, please contact Fritze Charne-Merriweather at 410-455-2395 or email@example.com. The Women’s Center is located in The Commons, Room 004 and can be reached at 410-455-2714 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When will we know more about the future of child care/preschool service on campus?
After the remaining materials in the center are removed (to be completed the week of Oct. 7), we will consult outside experts to determine the logistics and cost associated with repairing the damaged building, which will help us to determine the feasibility of the repairs. We anticipate a full report, including a cost estimate, by December.
UMBC values child care as an important part of supporting families and a good work-life balance. While the building evaluation is conducted, we will bring together a group of interested campus community members to explore the future of child care for the UMBC community. Anyone interested in participating in this discussion should contact Lynne Schaefer, email@example.com.
Why wasn’t the problem found sooner?
The child care center situation was identified when staff in the center reported water damage on a portion of the drywall. Facilities Management then removed several feet of drywall to determine the cause.
UMBC has two methods for identifying water infiltration problems in buildings: visual inspection and self-reporting. As our building engineers and tradespersons perform work throughout the campus, they will take note of anything they see that may require further investigation. Occasionally, we receive calls from offices to report visible water damage. Unfortunately, with more than 4 million sq. ft. of building space on campus, these are the only feasible methods for identifying such occurrences. It is not advisable to perform destructive testing unless water damage is evident, visually.
We will continue to periodically report on this issue, as it evolves. In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns or comments, please contact Lynne Schaefer, Vice President for Finance and Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org.