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March 20, 2007

New child care center to cater to children of Purdue Research Park-based workers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With toy shovels and hard-hats, Purdue University officials and area children broke ground on Tuesday (March 20) for a new child care facility to open at Purdue Research Park in August of 2007.

Ingersoll Child Care Center
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The 14,000-square-foot facility will be the first building constructed in the research park's Phase III development tract, which encompasses approximately 350 acres of foundation-owned land north of Kalberer Road. The 2.18-acre building site will feature a child care facility that can accommodate up to 190 children, of which 16 can be infants. Preference will be given to the enrollment of children of Purdue Research Park employees, followed by the children of Purdue University employees, and then by children of individuals living in the area.

"The demand by Purdue Research Park companies for on-site child care, especially infant care, has intensified as the park has grown from 2,500 to nearly 2,900 workers,” said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation, the research park's developer. "Over the past couple of years, it has become a priority to us to find a qualified child care operation dedicated to caring for the children of park employees.”

A foundation-led survey last April found that 188 of the 370 park employee respondents would consider enrolling their child or children in a research park-based daycare center.

"This child care facility, and the state-of-the-art fitness center that opened here last August, underline our dedication to provide amenities that directly benefit our companies and their staff," said Gregory W. Deason, the foundation's vice president of real estate and research park development. "These on-site amenities also help the research park recruit and retain the kind of high-tech companies that expect a well-rounded working environment."

Just Us Kids Inc., a child care operation that has managed the Ingersoll Childcare Center on the grounds of the Indiana Veterans' Home since July of 1996, was selected from among several child care vendors to operate a licensed child care center in a building being constructed by Lafayette-based Norfleet Builders Inc. The name of the center at Purdue Research Park will be Just Us Kids.

"Our philosophy is that children learn best through the active exploration of their environment," said Nancy Justice, Just Us Kids' president and executive director. "So we strive to make that environment rich with experiences that will enhance the physical, emotional, social and cognitive development of each child."

In addition to implementing a developmentally appropriate curriculum, Justice provides a network of support for the children's' families through daily contact, educational opportunities and resource materials. Just Us Kids has been used as a training and observation site for students from Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and as an observation site for Purdue University education students.

Although the operation does not advertise its services, Justice's child care center remains at capacity enrollment strictly by word of mouth. Justice said that she had been seeking to relocate the operation, which includes 106 children, ever since she learned that the facility housing the Ingersoll Childcare Center was slated for demolition by the Veterans' Administration.

"It's clear that parents aren't sending their children to Ingersoll Childcare Center for its state-of-the-art facilities. Although very clean, the building housing Nancy's operation has seen better days," said Judith Hall, director of the park's Human Resources Services. "As part of our selection team's lengthy evaluation, we determined that the strength of her program, along with its spotless reputation and litigation-free track record, were the key factors in keeping her business hopping over the past 27 years."

Hall says that other determining factors in the selection process related to Just Us Kids employee benefits package, which, unlike many child care operations, offers health insurance and company-paid professional development opportunities.

The new facility features a center building flanked by two diagonal wings. The left wing will have three rooms dedicated to toddlers and two rooms dedicated to infants. The right wing has six large rooms where children will be placed based on their age. For security purposes, a manned reception area is located immediately upon entry into the center portion of the building. The building also houses a large activity room, kitchen, teacher's lounge and numerous lavatories.

Design plans for the facility's exterior feature three separate outdoor play areas, including one playground exclusively for infants and toddlers, a second playground targeted toward preschool children and a large green space in between the playgrounds for activities that require running space.

About Just Us Kids

Just Us Kids was founded in West Lafayette in 1979 by licensed child care provider Nancy Justice. In 1996 Justice was awarded a state contract to operate the Ingersoll Childcare Center on the grounds of the West Lafayette-based Indiana Veterans' Home. Just Us Kids became a registered corporation in 1996 and a 501(c)3 corporate entity in 1999. Justice, Just Us Kids' president and executive director, taught workshops at the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children state conference from 1999 to 2003. She has served as an Indiana Division of Family and Children Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Tippecanoe County from 1996 to 1999, and she has been contracted by Tippecanoe Resource and Referral office to act as a professional mentor for new home child care providers or providers who wanted to improve their programs

About Purdue Research Park

Purdue Research Park (http://www.purdueresearchpark.com) encompasses 591 acres in West Lafayette, Ind., and is home to the largest university-affiliated, state-of-the-art business incubator complex in the nation. Within the park, 140 businesses, of which more than 90 are high-tech, employ more than 2,900 people. The Association of University Research Parks recognized Purdue Research Park for Excellence in Technology Transfer in 2005, and the park received the organization's Research/Science Park Company of the Year Award of Excellence in 2004.

Contacts:
Jeanine Phipps, senior communications and marketing specialist, Purdue University/Purdue Research Foundation, (765) 494-0748, (765) 413-5579 (mobile), jeanine@purdue.edu

Nancy Justice, president and executive director, Just Us Kids Inc., (765) 463-6129, justus.kids@verizon.net

Edward Stevens, Norfleet Builders Inc., (765) 742-7766 (office), 427-6022 (mobile), eddy1223@aol.com

Related Web sites:

Purdue Research Park: http://www.purdueresearchpark.com

Purdue Research Foundation: http://www.prf.org

Just Us Kids Inc.: http://www.justuskidsinc.com

PHOTO CAPTION:
Nancy Justice, president and executive director of Just Us Kids Inc., works with Geoffrey Boener, at left, and Edith Schluttenhofer at the Ingersoll Child Care Center her corporation now operates on the grounds of the Indiana Veterans' Home. Just Us Kids was chosen to operate a 14,000-square-foot Purdue Research Park-based child care center scheduled to open in August 2007.

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2007/PRF-childcare.jpg


* To the Purdue Research Park web site