University News

Final Funding Secured for SUU’s Child and Family Development Center

Published: April 16, 2019 | Category: Administration

president scott and kathy wyatt reading books to daycare childrenAdditional funding has been secured for Southern Utah University’s Sorenson Legacy Child and Family Development Center allowing renovation construction to begin this July with plans for the center to be completed and operational by August 2020.

The much-anticipated project, the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Child and Family Development Center is committed to the retention and graduation of SUU students by providing a high-quality facility offering on-campus childcare, a preschool lab, and parent and family support.

SUU has now secured gifts, pledges and capital improvement funding for a total of $2.9 million dollars. The most recent funds come from an additional $1.5 million in capital development funding and $300,000 pledged by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation. The Foundation’s pledge was motivated by SUU’s decision to repurpose the university president’s home to serve the needs of students and their children. Additional donors include Sorenson Legacy Foundation for whom the Center is named, Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, Dixie and Anne Leavitt Family Foundation, Eric and Melissa Leavitt, Mark and Jana Leavitt, Dr. Robert and Sydney Nakken and many other donors including numerous campus employees.

“It is absolutely thrilling to know this Center will be up and running in a year,” said Kathy Wyatt, SUU first lady and steering committee chair of the Center. “I am grateful, not only to the foundations who have donated significant amounts, but also for many individuals who saw the need for such a facility and gave whatever they could. Because of their generosity, hundreds of students will be able to pursue their education and achieve financial security for their families."

The 11,000 sq foot institutional residence will be repurposed as the Center, offering a cost-saving solution more than 50 percent less of the construction of a new facility. This decision offers children attending the Center to enter a home for their care and early learning experiences.

“I know of few people who would put their own convenience and comfort aside to meet the greatest need of a student population,” said Donna Law, executive director of development and government relations at SUU. “However, this is the case for the Wyatts, who have also made a personal gift to the project and have asked our facilities management team to have the Center ready as soon as possible.”

Along with providing a convenient on-campus location, Kathy Wyatt outlines several objectives for the Center including increasing female retention and graduation rates, affordable child care for students, flexible care hours, a safe and enriching environment for infants and toddlers as well as a facility for SUU education students to use for practicum.

The building costs are budgeted at $2.1 million with the remaining $870,000 for soft costs that include design, furniture, fixtures and equipment. A preschool/child care center has some very specific needs with regard to soft costs including bringing a home up to commercial code, especially with regard to fire safety and ADA accessibility. Adequate parking for staff and parents will be needed, and three separate playgrounds are required by code.

“ajc architects of Salt Lake City was selected for this project because of their experience with complex renovations, even adapting existing facilities into child care centers,” said Ben Johnson, SUU construction services, space planning and maintenance director.

Remodeling has begun on a new residence for the Wyatts. In July of 2017, with the approval of the SUU Board of Trustees, SUU acquired the Warthen home at the corner of 200 West and University Blvd in Cedar City. Though many uses for the home were considered, ultimately President Wyatt agreed this would be a suitable residence for his family given its convenient location to campus.


Tags: President Child Care Center

Contact Information:

Nikki Koontz, executive director of marketing communication
435-586-5400
nikkikoontz@suu.edu