One of the justifications that the WCC Administration has given for closing the WCC Children’s Center is that few students use the service. In fact, EVP Linda Blakey said in her presentation and in the local newspaper that only about 0.4% of WCC’s 21,000+ students used the facility. This is a bit of a red herring. Here’s why.
The State of Michigan licensed the WCC Children’s Center, and determined the maximum number of children allowed inside. At the time of its closure, the facility could supervise 135 children. Now, hundreds and hundreds of children could use the facility each day or week, but only 135 can be under supervision at any given time.
Second, EVP Blakey reported the number of WCC students who used the facility. However, staff and faculty used the facility as well. Reporting the number of WCC students who use the facility is kind of pointless, actually. The only number that really matters is the number of children receiving care.
What usage level would have kept the WCC Children’s Center open?
So, I’m curious. What exactly was the demand threshold that would have kept the WCC Children’s Center open?
The Children’s Center operated 12 hours per day, five days per week. That’s a total of 60 hours, or 8,100 care-hours per week (135 children x 60 hours of operation). The average WCC student enrolls for about 9 credits per semester. Based on WCC’s average credit-hour enrollment and its licensing limitations, the Children’s Center could only serve about 4% of the student population per year. In other words, more than 95% of WCC’s student population could not use the WCC Children’s Center, even if it operated with wall-to-wall children 12 hours per day.
The WCC Children’s Center was never expected to operate at maximum capacity 12 hours per day. Nor was it expected to serve every student on campus. Or even 5% of WCC’s student body. By its nature – and the size of its building – it could only serve 135 children at any given time.
The reality is that the WCC Children’s Center served every single student, staff and faculty member on campus every minute of every hour that it was open. The Children’s Center provided a safe, licensed place for student-parents and staff to place their children while they were on campus. It allowed all 21,000+ students to learn, all staff to work, and all faculty to teach without distraction. It served the WCC community as a whole – not just those who placed their children there.
And now it is gone.
Photo Credit: Rob Brewer , via Flickr