School administrators, faculty and other donors attended the event which took place at the project site adjacent to the existing Wee Care Center on 400 West.
“This is a day that reminds you that dreams do come true in this world of ours,” President Holland said. “Too often, we hear messages that make us believe otherwise, but today is a startling joyful reminder that dreams can come true.”
Eight children played with green plastic buckets and shovels in a large sandbox where waves of staff and administrators took turns in turning up the soil.
“[The Wee Care] facility has served many, many young people and has made a difference in a lot of lives, but as we have grown, we have not been able to keep pace in terms of our ability to handle the number of young children that we like to, in service of the students on campus,” said Corey Duckworth, vice president of student affairs.
President Holland shared similar sentiments about the need to consider the university’s growth in comparison to the availability of services for students.
“The Wee Care Center is not broken, but it is too small,” President Holland said. “For an institution of 30,000 students now, it’s not nearly the size it needs to be to care for those students who don’t have any other option, for whom the offer of Wee Care services make the difference between getting a degree or not.”
Currently, the center has capacity for about 100 children. It opened in 2001 through UVU’s Turning Point as a support service for low-income students in need of childcare.
A survey by Institutional Research found in 2010 that at least 500 additional childcare spaces were needed to adequately serve the number of low-income students with children at the university.
Greg Butterfield, chair on the UVU Board of Trustees, made the official announcement of the center’s new name, the Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation. Jones was a key contributor in getting plans for the center’s expansion off the ground last fall when she doubled her donation from $1 million to $2 million in September 2012.
The new 14,000-square-foot building is expected to accommodate more children with seven classrooms, two playgrounds and an updated kitchen when it is completed in fall 2013.