MedQuarter Receives Final Child Care Center Feasibility Study, Weighs Possible Next Steps

Feb 17, 2020

After conducting the first two phases of the three-phase child care center feasibility study, Mills Consulting Group of Framingham, MA submitted the full study results to the MedQuarter Regional Medical District in mid-December. At the MedQuarter Commission’s January meeting, Mills presented an executive summary of the study’s findings to the Commission. Highlights of the study include:

  • 849 people participated in the survey
    • 729 of whom have children infant through 10 years of age.
    • 43% plan to have or adopt a child in the next 3 years.
  • Surveys were received from employees of 26 different businesses throughout the MedQuarter and Downtown Cedar Rapids, as a surrounding district.
    • Mercy Medical Center, UnityPoint Health and Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa had the highest number of respondents.
    • Nursing and Non-Nursing Health Care workers were the top two occupations reported.
  • A majority of respondents indicated that they would be very likely or somewhat likely to use a child care center in or near the MedQuarter. There was also a very high percentage of respondents interested in on-site back-up care and care during holidays, school breaks and summer break.
  • Productivity loss: a significant number of respondents either missed work or were late to work due to problems with childcare arrangements.
  • The unique nature of scheduling in health care occupations was emphasized by many respondents who indicated a need for flexible scheduling.
  • The number of children enrolled in the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, combined with the number of respondents who are planning to have or adopt a child, indicate that this is a need that will continue into the future.

With this data, the Commission was presented a series of potential next steps. After discussion, the Commission agreed that any effort around a child care facility in the District must be approached as a business, not a benefit. To this end, the most important elements will be determining what it will cost to operate the child care program and the level of support that the major employers are willing to provide. The Commission concluded that the MedQuarter’s Economic Development Committee will convene to seek a proposal from a child care center operator who has both the ability as well as the experience to run a center that meets the specific needs outlined in the feasibility study.

“The results of the feasibility study are not surprising, There is a definite need for additional child care capacity in the city’s core.” stated Phil Wasta, MedQuarter Executive Director, “The real value in the study is that we have quantified the need, analyzed the market, and clarified the specific dynamics of what a child care center in the MedQ must offer to support workers, and more specifically health care workers, who have young children.”

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