Jackson Lab breaks ground on child care facility

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - The Jackson Lab held a groundbreaking ceremony on a planned child care facility on its Bar Harbor Campus Tuesday afternoon.

The lab identified the need for childcare as the number two problem facing employees, behind the need for housing.

Finding quality, affordable childcare has been an ongoing issue for working parents throughout the United States, and it’s no different on MDI. The Lab says they’ve heard those concerns and took plans to build a new childcare facility to the Bar Harbor Planning Board.

Those plans were approved in less than 10 minutes.

“I know multiple people who have reverse commute right now who go from Bar Harbor off island to take advantage of childcare centers that are in Ellsworth, simply because there isn’t the availability here on island,” said Beth Dumont, an assistant professor at JAX. “So that’s an enormous time burden. You know, that’s time that they can spend with their children. That’s time they can’t spend at work. So having an on site childcare facility is really huge.”

“It will house infant, toddler, early child, preschool aged kids up to 50 children, educational programs and an indoor and outdoor playground center,” Jackson Lab’s Executive Vice President & COO Katy Longley said. “Lots of natural light and a beautiful setting with a backdrop of Acadia National Park.”

Longley added that the new child care facility will be operated by the Downeast Family YMCA.

“We are adjacent to the JAX laboratory facilities so parents can come out during the day to see their children and have easy access to interact with them during the day,” said Longley.

The hope is that the new, on-campus childcare facility will help ease the burden for both JAX employees and the Bar Harbor community.

“It shows that the lab cares about their employees and that it’s really invested in the people,” said Dumont. “And I think too, it’s going to help as a recruitment tool long term as well.”

“Just knowing that it’s here for people who are starting to plan a family,” Longley said. “’Is there anything to offer?’ They know that this is something they can look forward to.”