University partners with Bright Horizons to add child care options on campus

The University of Chicago will partner with Bright Horizons Family Solutions to operate the first of its two, new child care centers, Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum announced.

“Child care on campus has become a pressing concern of many members of our University community. Bright Horizons is a national leader in child care with demonstrated excellence as a provider. They embrace our continuing commitment to providing more options for parents who work and study on our campus,” said Rosenbaum, who also credited the work of the Biological Sciences Division leadership. “I am grateful to Dean [Kenneth] Polonsky and before him interim Dean [Everett] Vokes for their partnership in this initiative.”

The University has taken important steps in recent years to create new child care support for families.

A committee of faculty, staff, and outside experts in child development and early childhood education selected Bright Horizons, which manages child care centers for many of the world’s leading corporations, hospitals, universities, and government agencies. Founded in 1986, Bright Horizons has created employer-sponsored child care and early education programs for more than 700 clients, including more than 90 of the Fortune 500.

Slated to open in the fall of 2012, the new facility will serve children of University and Medical Center employees, postdoctoral researchers, and students.  Located on Drexel Avenue in close proximity to many clinical and research facilities, the center will accommodate 124 children between 6 weeks of age and 5 years old, allocate slots on a first-come, first-served basis and charge market rates.

More information will become available for parents and others interested in the center in the next year.

“We recognize how important it is for our scholars and clinicians to have convenient access to first-rate day care for their children” saidPolonsky, Dean of the Division of Biological Sciences and Pritzker School of Medicine, and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs. “The new center will help us recruit and retain extraordinary people who are also raising young families.”

In addition to this day care facility, the University has announced plans for a second child care center on Stony Island Avenue south of 58th Street. The facility also will serve 124 children in the same age span. It is scheduled to open in September 2013, on University-owned land immediately south of the Laboratory Schools’ Earl Shapiro Hall.

More information will be available on the second center in 2013.

“It’s vital that faculty, trainees, and employees are able to focus on their jobs and their scholarship, and this requires knowing that their children are well cared for,” said Dr. Suzanne D. Conzen, Professor of Medicine and a member of the child care provider selection committee. “Hopefully, this will allow us to attract the best and brightest candidates without impediment.”

Since its inception, the Women's Leadership Council has strongly advocated for onsite child care, and many faculty members, department chairs and deans have long identified onsite child care as a major need.

In addition to the new center, faculty, other academic appointees, staff, postdoctoral researchers, and students seeking child care benefit from the University and Medical Center partnerships with two local child care providers, the Baby Ph.D. Childcare Networkand the Chicago Child Care Society. In 2005, the University and Medical Center funded grant proposals, creating more than 70 new infant and toddler slots in the neighborhood for children of those who work and study here.