The union had previously said the daycare would open its doors in March 2018
After failing to meet its projected opening of March 2018, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) daycare and nursery is now expected to be up and running by November, according to the union.
The centre will be open as early as Oct. 1 and no later than Nov. 1, according to its director, Angela Meo. Once open, it will house up to 52 infants and toddlers at a time and will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, all year round.
The daycare will cost $35 per day, but provincial tax credits based on household income can cover a significant portion of that cost. Families in the lowest income bracket (those making $35,345 a year or less) will earn a tax credit equal to 75 per cent of the fee, bringing the cost to just 70 cents over the provincial rate of $8.05 per day.
“I know it’s been a long time coming,” Meo told The Concordian.
In the fall of 2017, then-CSU General Coordinator Omar Riaz told The Concordian that the centre — located at 1424 Bishop St. — would open in March of 2018. CSU General Manager Robert Henri said this was an inaccurate estimate, “When I read that, I said, ‘you should’ve talked to me before.’”
Both unexpected renovations and complications with permits delayed the project. “When they opened the roof, they had to completely insulate [it] and that’s something that they hadn’t even planned for,” said Meo.
She said construction should be completed by the time classes begin, just after Labour Day.
Furthermore, Henri said that changes in construction permit laws meant that the CSU had to re-submit their request for a permit.
The daycare’s $1.5 million budget was only marginally exceeded: in September 2017, council approved about $76,000 of extra funding for the renovation.
The daycare was first conceived in 2011, when the Concordia University Student Parents Centre (CUSP) and the Dean of Students Office sponsored a report called “Student Parents and Their Children: How can we help them? An analysis of the student parent experience at Concordia University.” The study found one of the biggest barriers student-parents faced in achieving academic success was a lack of “timely, safe, flexible, affordable childcare options,” sometimes leading them to drop out altogether.
Although Concordia does not collect data on the number of student-parents enrolled at any given time, “Student Parents and their Children” estimated that as much as 10 per cent of Concordia students may be parents. The university already has two daycares for these parents, one on each campus. However, the daycares at Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses have capacities of only 80 and 54 children, respectively, and priority is given to faculty.
Meo said the waiting list, which was opened in June, currently has about a dozen names on it. However, both Meo and Henri expect that number to go up as word of the daycare’s opening spreads.
Henri said that once the centre on Bishop Street is established, the CSU would like to set up another daycare centre on the Loyola campus, although no concrete plans exist yet. “If demand is really there, we could open another one downtown,” said Henri.
Interested students can contact the daycare at firstname.lastname@example.org.