Bass Center day-care facility doubles options for parents

Given the importance of on-campus child care options to many at UT Southwestern, the medical center has formed a new partnership with First Step Learning Centre to increase the number of child care slots. First Step, which will be located in a newly renovated space in the Bass Center starting later this fall, has designated 150 spaces for UT Southwestern faculty, postdoctoral fellows, residents, students and staff.

Admiring the plans for the First Step Learning Centre, now undergoing renovation at the Bass Center, are Michael Serber (left), Steve Lawson, director of real estate services; Wendy Mireault, owner of First Step Learning Centre; and Dr. Charles Ginsburg.

The child care center provides services for infants through children 5 years of age. First Step’s expansion, paired with child care slots already provided by UT Southwestern and the UTD Callier Child Development Program, now results in 325 slots on campus.

The partnership with First Step grew from many discussions with concerned faculty and staff. An initial committee led by Dr. Charles Ginsburg, senior associate dean for academic administration; John Roan, executive vice president for business affairs; and Michael Serber, assistant vice president for financial planning, began investigating solutions.

Dr. Ginsburg created and chaired a special child care task force to fully research an alternative to Callier and make expansion recommendations to the administration.

A special thanks goes to this task force, which included Dr. Patricia Bergen, professor of surgery; Dr. Michael Brown, Nobel laureate and director of the Erik Jonsson Center for Research in Molecular Genetics and Human Disease; Dr. Melanie Cobb, dean of
UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Dr. Carole Mendelson, professor of biochemistry; Dr. Shelley Roaten, professor of family and community medicine; Dr. Kim Orth, assistant professor of molecular biology; and Dr. Myra Wycoff, associate professor of pediatrics.

First Step Learning Centre’s renovations will expand the child care center’s space from 6,800 square feet to more than 14,250 square feet. The facility has been operating since 1998. Owner Wendy Mireault is excited about the growth and opportunity to serve more members of the UT Southwestern community.

“Some key resources we’ll have for families include an educational curriculum, breastfeeding room, arts and computer rooms, an updated playground and cafeteria,” Ms. Mireault said. “UT Southwestern parents can easily visit their children throughout the day … a hard benefit to beat.”

A free shuttle, known as the Bass Center Express, runs between the Bass Center and South Campus throughout the day. There also is a designated loading zone for parents dropping off children and those wishing to stop by to visit.

Infant and early-childhood classes are likely to fill quickly. Families interested in enrollment can call 214-352-8608 or visit the First Step site at www.firststeplearningcentre.com.

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Dr. Ginsburg holds the Marilyn R. Corrigan Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research.

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