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CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College’s Child Development Center is expanding to include care for infants and toddlers.

The center, which opened in the mid-1990s, is also raising its daily fees slightly.

The addition of the new classroom for children ages 6 weeks to 24 months is designed to meet the needs of the campus community, increase enrollment and boost revenue, according to an informational item presented to trustees, who approved the changes this week.

The center has historically provided care for 2- to 5-year-olds but has a room available for infants and toddlers up to 24 months, officials said.

It has been tracking demand from parents who have inquired about infant care and compiled a list of 22 interested families, said Stephanie Stuart, Parkland’s vice president for communications.

“A big issue was that some of our preschool families would have a second child and they would have nowhere to put that child, so they would take their preschooler out to have one pick-up and drop-off,” said center Director Adrienne Morrison.

“This also helps us to better serve our student population,” either expectant mothers or those with young children, she said.

The center currently has two rooms for 3- to 5-year-olds that hold 20 children each, and a 2-year-old room for up to 16 children, Morrison said. The 2-year-old room is full but the preschool rooms are not. Both levels will have spots available in January, she said.

No renovations will be needed for the new infant-toddler room, and minor equipment purchases will be covered by operating funds, officials said.

The idea is to provide “continuous care” from birth through age 5, Stuart said.

The center was designed to be self-sustaining with tuition and fees, but during periods of low enrollment it’s needed a transfer of funds from the college to cover its roughly $400,000 in annual operating costs, Stuart said.

Currently, the center charges $43 to $51 a day for 2-year-olds, depending on family income, and $42 to $47 a day for 3- to 5-year-olds.

As of Dec. 1, those rates will rise by a dollar for 2-year-olds (to $43 to $52 a day) and by 50 cents for 3-to-5-year-olds (to $42.50 to $47.50 a day).

The infant-toddler care will cost $59 to $63 for a full day and $49 to $53 for a partial day.

Administrators said the rates are comparable to other child-care centers in Champaign-Urbana.

The college also hopes to encourage more Parkland families to use the center through a new 8 percent discount for students and employees.

Currently, 75 percent of the center’s clients are not affiliated with Parkland, Stuart said. Community members are welcome but “we want to make sure that students know that’s an option for them,” she said.

Also this week, Parkland trustees approved a fiscal 2020 tax levy of $33.63 million, a nearly 12.5 percent increase over last year’s extension of $30.17 million.

That will allow the college to capture additional income from the 4.3 percent increase in the district’s assessed value without raising its tax rate, now at about 53 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Reporter/Columnist

Julie Wurth is a reporter covering the University of Illinois at The News-Gazette. Her email is jwurth@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@jawurth).