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SOU-childcare

Childcare returns to SOU’s former Schneider Children’s Center site

(Ashland, Ore.) — Daycare will return to the Southern Oregon University Family Housing property at 1361 Quincy St., in Ashland, when Lil’ Rascals Preschool & Childcare Center opens at that location on Jan. 7.

SOU signed a lease agreement this week that will enable Lil’ Rascals – which operated in Ashland for 15 years until its building was sold in 2016 – to move into the space that was vacated this summer when the Schneider Children’s Center closed. Lil’ Rascals will also continue to operate at its current location at 839 E. Main St., in Medford.

“We feel that the Quincy Street location is a wonderful opportunity to fill the void for additional, quality childcare in the Ashland community,” Lil’ Rascals owner Angela Greene said. “We anticipate childcare spots to fill quickly. We encourage interested clients to call our Medford Center and get on the waiting list for Ashland, right away.”

Lil’ Rascals can be reached in Medford at (541) 773-1598. It also plans a sign-up day at the Quincy Street location in Ashland from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15.

SOU sought to find a community partner to lease the property and resume childcare operations at the site after the Schneider Children’s Center closed Aug. 31. The university’s leadership endorsed a working group’s recommendation to end SOU’s affiliation with the children’s center ­– which operated at the location for many years – because its business model was not sustainable.

The center operated as an auxiliary program at SOU, and was ineligible to receive funding from the university. But it did receive support from student fees until the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University voted in 2014 to shift to a smaller subsidy that would directly benefit SOU students in need of childcare.

Students voted a year later to reinstate some general funding to the Schneider center, and the Wilsonville-based Oregon Child Development Coalition stepped in as an operational and financial partner. Changes in the state’s supervision requirements for day care centers later made that arrangement unworkable, and the OCDC was unable to take over the operation when SOU cut its ties this summer.

Greene said Lil’ Rascals will operate its new Ashland facility with at least eight employees, and encouraged SOU students and others to apply. She said the center will also offer a 10 percent childcare discount to SOU students and employees.

Lil’ Rascals will try to accommodate the needs of former Schneider Child Center clients and its own customers from its previous Ashland location, Greene said. The center accepts state subsidies for low-income clients.

-SOU-