growing child-care center serves as state, national model
by Greg Turner, September 30, 2002, Metro West Daily News
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When Staples Inc. broke ground on a child-care center at its
new corporate headquarters four years ago, company officials
weren't sure if all 100 slots would be booked.
"Then in a short span of time, the whole thing filled up,"
said Susan Hoyt, Staples' executive vice president of human
Yesterday, the Framingham-based office supply chain formally
dedicated an expanded child-care center that is more than
twice the size of the original.
The center, managed by Bright Horizons, a Watertown-based,
child-care organization, is located near Staples' headquarters
building at the 9/90 Corporate Center.
Staples added on-site day care in spring 1999 to help the
company retain workers in what was a tight job market. Since
then, the company has learned how important it is to offer the
service to its employees.
Hoyt said 30 percent of women with children think about not
returning to work within the first year after delivering a
baby. "We don't really want that to happen at Staples," she
The center, built by Cranshaw Construction of Newton, expanded
to 16,400 square feet from the original 7,900. It houses up to
216 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years.
Because Staples paid for the building, more slots are
available for infants and toddlers, which cost more to serve
than preschool-age children, according to Dave Lissy, chief
executive officer of Bright Horizons.
Bright Horizons also is able to give higher salaries and
better benefits to the staff of 33 teachers, Lissy said.
"This is an example of how to do it really well," Lissy said
of the Staples center.
Bright Horizons also operates child-care centers at EMC Corp.
in Hopkinton, Reebok International Ltd. in Canton, and Blue
Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, among others.
Ardith Wieworka, commissioner of the state Office of Child
Care Services, said Staples has made a "tremendous investment"
in its employees and their children.
"This is a model not just for the commonwealth but the
country," she said, adding that only a handful of companies in
the state have on-site child-care services. "This is
state-of-the-art, top-notch. This is the best it gets."
Laura Granaham, who has enrolled all three of her children,
said the center's proximity to her office at Staples "can't be
beat." The Concord resident said parents and children have
formed lasting relationships.
"That kind of stability and friendship and bonding is really a
special thing and really instills a sense of community in the
kids and in the parents," Granaham said.
Hopkinton resident Lisa Hamblet, vice president of
business-to-business e-commerce at Staples, said she finds a
sense of balance from having her child at the center.
"The stress that the day-care center has relieved ... has been
really helpful," she said.
Staples gives priority to its employees but the center also
accepts children of parents who work elsewhere in the area.
The center provides education and developmental programs, as
well as play time.
One project that's part learning and part fun is called
"Lasting Impressions." Lisa Asselborn, director of the
child-care center, said children and parents together are
making a quilt to mark the dedication of the new center.