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[[underline]] CHILD CARE CENTER [[/underline]]

The first Smithsonian Child Care Center, located in the National Museum of American History, will open officially for business on Monday, October 3, 1988. Applications for thirty-eight of the forty slots have been approved. All necessary paperwork for meeting licensing and code requirements has been initiated. Application for approval of the playground site and equipment at the southeast end of the building will be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission on September 8.

The Center's director, Ms. Sharon Shaffer, who began work in July, was previously director of the Montgomery County Community College Child Care Center just outside of Philadelphia. She is interviewing applicants for the four teacher and four assistant positions. The rest of the staff will begin work the week prior to opening, during which they will receive training in the specially designed museum-based curriculum, as well as in basic first aid and CPR.

The Financial Assistance Committee (composed of persons outside the Institution in order to maintain confidentiality) met to review applications in late August. All of the eleven applicants were awarded assistance ranging from 10 to 50 percent of tuition. This means that almost 29 percent of the Center's children are receiving financial assistance -- a strong indication that the Center is being utilized by a wide cross-section of the employee population.

There will be a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony/press preview on Monday, September 26, followed by one of two open houses for Smithsonian employees. Any Regents who are interested in touring the new facility are welcome to visit after the Board meeting on September 19.

[[underline]] COMMERCE DEPARTMENT EXHIBITION GALLERY [[/underline]]

The Smithsonian staff has continued to pursue the possibility of using the Baldrige Hall at the Department of Commerce Building for exhibition purposes. The space, approximately 15,400 square feet, is on ground level at the north end of the building and directly opposite the recently restored Willard Hotel. Although the Department of Commerce is enthusiastic about the plan, its realization has been hampered by resistance from the General Services Administration. Without a waiver of $250,000 annually for rent, Smithsonian occupancy might be prohibitive. Recently Commerce Department officials have intensified efforts to obtain a waiver, and results might be expected by mid-September.

A recently completed $20,000 feasibility study, jointly funded by the Smithsonian and the Department of Commerce, analyzes existing conditions and outlines various alternatives for modifying the space at different levels of funding. The Smithsonian and the Commerce Department have agreed on a plan, and an outside design firm has been chosen to provide architectural drawings. Both Commerce and the Smithsonian would like to proceed as quickly as possible. Meanwhile the roster of exhibitions has grown and covers a wide variety of media and subject matter that could be place in the Hall. Some are international and relate
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