Parents gather signatures to relocate University Village day care

Friday, March 14, 2014 | 7:51 p.m. CDT; updated 11:59 p.m. CDT, Friday, March 14, 2014
Parents from the Student Parent Center, located at the University Village apartment complex, circulated a petition on Friday in Speakers Circle at MU to relocate the day care after an announcement of its future closure. The campaign aims to gain support from the community and get the word out about how important the day care is for students, faculty and staff who are parents. No future plans have been announced for the day care center.

COLUMBIA — Nearly a half-dozen parents whose children have attended the Student Parent Center at University Village were at MU on Friday promoting a petition to relocate the center.

The day care center in Building 602 of University Village is scheduled for demolition after the student housing development closes June 30. No plans for the future of the center have been announced.

The safety of the units in University Village became a concern after a walkway collapsed in late February, killing a Columbia firefighter.

As of Wednesday, 29 children were enrolled at the day care. Sixteen were the children of students; the rest were children of MU faculty and staff.

The petition asks the university administration "to ensure that the Student Parent Center at University of Missouri continues to exist and is moved to a safe, accessible, on-campus location."

As of 5 p.m. Friday, 882 signatures had been collected.

The parents were stationed Friday around Speakers Circle, where they passed out fliers and solicited signatures.

Naomi Clark, a graduate student and parent with two children attending the center, said the response had been positive. She said it was clear that many in the MU community support an on-campus day care, and she hopes the chancellor will take that into serious consideration.

Kimberly Bodner, whose son attended the center before the collapse, said she was hoping to raise community awareness about the situation. Bodner and her husband, Christopher Engelhardt, have since pulled their son out of the day care center.

Rachel Winograd, a graduate student and parent, came out with her infant son to help the other parents pass out fliers. She said she wanted to support them in their effort.

Winograd's son has not attended the Student Parent Center, but she said that before the collapse, she had planned to enroll him.

Sean Strobel, an MU student who was passing by, said he wanted to sign the petition because there were a lot of people in need of help.

"The school shouldn't make it hard on people trying to get an education," Strobel said.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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