Campus Infant Care Center Opens Its Doors
By Jose L. RodrĖguez, Development Communications
An infant-care center for Berkeley's working parents opened its doors this fall, thanks to a donation from a longtime campus friend. A $250,000 gift from Alba Witkin of Berkeley is helping to fund the Clark Kerr Infant-Care Center, the first year-round campus facility for infants and toddlers.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for working parents of infants and toddlers to find high-quality care for their children on the Berkeley campus," said Chancellor Berdahl and Margaret Berdahl. They recently took a tour of the facility with Witkin.
"Thanks to Mrs. Witkin," they said, "we are fulfilling in a most direct way UC Berkeley's commitment to giving children of all backgrounds a fair and healthy start and to provide improved child-care options for our working parents."
The center -- with 24 total spaces and six spots still open -- is a first step toward meeting long-unmet needs of staff. It serves children between the ages of 3 months and 24 months at the corner of Dwight Way and Warring Street. It features ample indoor and outdoor space, with a ratio of one staff member for every three children.
Child care has long been an issue of concern for Alba Witkin, who in 1998, began having discussions with Chancellor and Mrs. Berdahl on the needs of working parents at Berkeley. This gift follows a history of support for a wide range of university programs from Witkin and her late husband, Bernie. Their interests included the School of Law, The Young Musicians' Program, Cal Performances, International House and the University Library.
The Witkin gift is subsidizing the start-up costs of the center, including building and equipment. Monthly fees to cover other costs are set at $1,100 for infants entering at 3 to 14 months of age, $1,000 a month for children entering at 15 to 24 months old.
Children of faculty and staff will receive top priority for acceptance to the center. Employees at UC Office of the President and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are also eligible to apply. Applications from parents in the student body and local community will be considered after other applicants.
Up to now, only employees with children past toddler age have been served by campus-based child-care through the existing Harold E. Jones Child Study Center.