The Campus Chronicle
Vol. XVI, Issue 1
for the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts
Sept. 1, 2000

Page OneGrain & ChaffObituariesLetters to the ChronicleArchivesFeedbackWeekly Bulletin




Last-minute glitch delays opening
of child care centers

by Daniel J. Fitzgibbons, Chronicle staff

Fran Jacques of RAC Builders
Fran Jacques of RAC Builders of Agawam installs a new door at Farley Lodge.
(Stan Sherer photo)

The scheduled Sept. 5 reopening of two campus child care facilities may be delayed for nearly a week after to allow the installation of additional equipment for an automated fire alarm system.

     After learning of the setback, University Child Care staff this week informed families that Farley and Bowditch lodges may not open until Sept. 11, six days after the target date. The delay will not affect the toddler classrooms, which are housed in a separate structure.

     The summer-long renovation of the two buildings, which house the Grass Roots and New World child care programs, went smoothly all summer despite some minor weather-related delays, according to UCC director Maryanne Gallagher.

     But a test last week of an automated fire alarm notification system in another campus building failed due to a faulty connection at the UMass Police station in Dickinson Hall. The system failure prompted Facilities Planning staff to order improvements, said Gallagher.

     "Because of this malfunction, additional equipment must be installed to provide a trouble-free connection," said a UCC advisory distributed to parents this week.

     Since installation of the new equipment is expected to take about a week, fire and building inspections required for child care licensing will be delayed until the work is completed, according to Gallagher.

     The likelihood of some glitch holding up opening was not unexpected, according to the notice circulated this week.

     "The possibility of a delayed opening has been shared with parents since last February during the planning phase of this project," said the advisory. "Throughout the project Facilities Planning staff and the contractor have worked diligently to do everything possible to complete this project on time. Facilities Planning staff have also shared realistic expectations that, given the nature of renovation work, until the project is complete they could not guarantee a completion date."

     Meanwhile, UCC staff have been readying classrooms while contractors finish the renovations. Parent-child visits were scheduled to go ahead as scheduled this week, according to the UCC advisory.

     Announced last spring, the overhaul of the two buildings is intended to bring the two structures into compliance with building and safety codes for child care facilities. The cost of the project is $299,300, according to Facilities Planning.

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