January 28, 2002 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Eastern Oregon University students with young children have reason to celebrate.

A child care center will open at Eastern by fall term.

This is long overdue, said Harris Shelton, EOUs vice president of student affairs.

The day care center is scheduled to open in late August or early September.

This is an important service that needs to be provided to our students, said Shelton, who helped create the center.

EOU will provide the building for the center. Services will be provided by a day care provider contracted by Eastern.

The center will be in a one-story home on Eastern property. A married student couple now live in the house.

The home will have a capacity for about 25 children after renovation work is completed. The site will include a fenced outdoor play area.

The day care center will fill a significant need, said EOU student body president Blake Robinson.

It is a good investment, Robinson said.

He noted that a survey two years ago indicated that many Eastern students wanted a day care program.

Robert Clark, EOUs director of financial aid, said that between 30 and 40 students a year request additional financial aid for child care. The majority of these students receive that aid.

Robinson credits the work of past student government administrations with playing a key role in getting the day care center established. Shelton agrees that student governments role has been important.

It (student government) has been very instrumental in helping make this happen, Shelton said.

Shelton also credits Jim Kreider, EOUs student activities director, and Mike Daugherty, director of residence life, with helping to get the day care program under way.

Preliminary plans call for the center to be open to the public. EOU students, though, will get priority and receive services at a discounted rate, Shelton said.

Eastern must receive a conditional use permit from the City of La Grande before it can use the building for a child care center.

Shelton hopes to have the center open year-round.

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