Lack of use forces closure of on-campus daycare center


Breanna Rae Weber

Million dollar deficit leaves playground empty of children.

Imagine being a Lakeland student who continually collects homework assignments, papers and study guides. Now envision being a parent on top of it all. It is not unusual for colleges and universities to provide daycare services on campus for their students, faculty and staff. Lakeland College was no exception until this school year.

Lakeland decided to close down the daycare for fiscal reasons. The daycare itself cost $876,000 to build, and $628,000 (72 percent) of that money came from donations, specifically from the DeLand Foundation, which donated 50 percent of the total donations. The remaining $248,000 (28 percent) came from Lakeland funds.

Another reason for closing the daycare center is that many Sheboygan area daycares are already in close proximity to the college.

According to Lakeland College President Dan Eck, another issue is how irregularly it was used.

“Customers would use it for less than a full day and less than a full week,” Eck said, “yet it was staffed and ran as a full-time operation.”

Annual losses for the daycare ranged from $100,000 to $200,000 for the past six years, which means that is close to $1 million in money that Lakeland lost.

Right now, the daycare center building is empty and waiting for imminent rearrangement.

“We are still going to see if we can build a financial model that works to reopen the center,” Eck said, “but I would not be opposed to listening to ideas for the space in case we do not reopen the center.”

When asked how soon the plans for the future of the daycare will be solidified, Eck said, “It is still too early to tell if the daycare will come back or not, whether as [it was] before or in some new format. We just do not know yet.”