College day care to move, expand
Mesa State College’s day-care service, the Little Mavericks Learning Center, is moving, expanding and up for bid.
The college is moving the center to the current home of The Bike Shop, in the Development Center, from Medesy Hall, which would more than double the capacity from 74 to 150 students. Mesa State President Tim Foster said the decision to bid out day-care services coincides with the move because the current providers occupy the space rent-free and receive a portion of student fees but charge market price for services.
Paula Barker, president of Little Mavericks, said the program is a nonprofit organization run by a board of directors. Little Mavericks has been providing day care for 30 years at Mesa State and hasn’t changed much in that time, she said.
With regard to space, Barker said, Little Mavericks’ day-care license limits how many children can be cared for at one time based on the square footage of the facility.
“That’s not something we’ve been limiting. We’ve been limited by our license,” Barker said.
The new location will need to be remodeled but should be ready for fall.
The current providers have submitted a bid, but they will face some competition, Foster said.
“I think they thought they would be the only ones who would bid,” Foster said. “But we’ve attracted others, including national day-care providers.”
Little Mavericks has three programs for the toddlers, preschool and prekindergarten-age children of students, staff and faculty of Mesa State. Mesa State students are charged $20 a day for full-time preschool and prekindergarten, $15 a day for part-time enrollment in those programs, $25 a day for full-time toddlers and $20 a day for part-time enrollment in that program.
Mesa State faculty are charged $2 more per day for each service.
Area day-care and preschool providers such as the Rainbow Children’s Center, 2702 Patterson Road, charge $26 a day for full-day preschool and $18 a day for half-day enrollment.
Little Mavericks closes for campus holidays, Foster said, rather than keeping standard business hours.
There is often a wait list to get in as well, he said, resulting in a “lottery” and “who knows who” when enrollment is decided.
College officials hope that bidding out services will result in lower costs for the program and more consistent hours. The space may not be rent-free to the providers in the future, depending on the bids received.
Patrick Doyle, vice president of finance for Mesa State, said bidders will be subject to a two-step process or prequalifying to submit a bid by providing evidence of day-care experience and proper licensure, and then presenting a business plan.
The providers will have some hand in footing the costs of relocating the day care to the Development Center, Doyle said.
“We want to get the final firm on board ASAP to help with the build-out,” Doyle said.