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MIT plans to build new childcare facility

When complete next year, the new Technology Children’s Center on Vassar Street will nearly double the Institute’s on-campus childcare capacity.
MIT plans to construct a roughly 14,000-square-foot Technology Children’s Center (TCC) that will nearly double the on-campus childcare slots available to Institute faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students. The new facility, at 219 Vassar St., is expected to open in late summer 2013.

The center was made possible through the generosity of MIT alumni David H. Koch, who provided a lead gift, and Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson.

“We are grateful to David Koch and to Chuck and Jen Johnson for supporting this facility, which will be transformational in MIT’s efforts to recruit and retain the best faculty, staff, postdocs and graduate students,” President L. Rafael Reif said. “Time and time again, members of our community have told us how important convenient and high-quality childcare is in their decisions on where to build their careers. I am confident that this new facility will help encourage the most talented researchers, students, and other staff to come to MIT.”

TCC Vassar will accommodate approximately 126 infants, toddlers and preschoolers — representing an increase of roughly 90 percent over the capacity of four existing TCC facilities on MIT’s campus in Cambridge. Over the past decade, the number of spaces in the Institute’s childcare facilities has increased nearly fivefold.

The new two-story building will house 11 classrooms, separating children by age. It will have outdoor facilities that are expected to include a variety of playgrounds, sand pits, climbing structures and gardens.

“I have spoken with many MIT researchers who are at that point in life, trying to balance demanding careers with the responsibilities of raising young children,” Koch said. “My hope is that the new children’s center will make it easier for them to focus on their work knowing that their families are well cared for.”

Koch and Chuck Johnson are members of the Biology Visiting Committee, one of 31 committees that act as advisors to the MIT Corporation, and that typically meet every two years in order to determine what issues might most benefit from the attention of the MIT administration. In 2011, the Biology Visiting Committee spent time listening to faculty members who reported that MIT needed more childcare in order to meet the needs of faculty members, postdocs and graduate students — and in order for MIT to be able to attract and retain talent generally.

TCC Vassar will be located on the north side of Vassar Street, at 219 Vassar St., between Simmons Hall and W59 (the Heinz Building). MIT has begun preparing for the demolition of the building currently located at 219 Vassar St., which has been vacant for approximately five years.

Spaces in the new facility will ultimately be filled — generally on a first-come, first-served basis — from the Institute’s existing waiting list for campus childcare. The Work-Life Subcommittee of MIT’s Employee Benefits Oversight Committee, which is chaired by physics professor and department head Edmund Bertschinger, will ultimately determine TCC Vassar’s tuition and details of the facility’s enrollment. The committee can be reached by email:

MIT’s already existing childcare facilities will continue to operate.

David H. Koch ’62, SM ’63 (chemical engineering) is the executive vice president of Koch Industries and a member of the MIT Corporation. His gift to MIT to establish The David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in 2007 was one of the largest in MIT history. His other contributions to MIT have supported the David H. Koch School of Chemical Engineering Practice and the David H. Koch Biology Building. A leading philanthropist, he has given generously to a wide variety of organizations and programs that further cancer research, enhance medical centers and support educational institutions, and sustain arts and cultural institutions.

Charles W. Johnson '55 (civil engineering) and Jennifer C. Johnson have been longtime supporters of MIT. Their philanthropy has funded a wide range of Institute priorities, including cancer research — funding MIT's first clinical investigator at the Koch Institute — a Chair and a Thesis Prize in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, partial graduate fellowships in mathematics and at MIT Sloan, as well as support for enhanced programs in the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation. Until his retirement in 2009, Charles was co-founder and Chairman of Visual Numerics of Houston, Texas, and he serves as an honorary member of MIT's Corporation Development Committee.

MIT faculty, staff and students interested in placing children in the new facility will find more information and a registration form on the Technology Children’s Center website.

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