No Lot 14 shuttle stop zeroes out CDRC field trips

Noor Ashouri

Photo by Keri Weiland

In previous years, the UNF Child Development Research Center used the Lot 14 shuttle lots for extra programming.

But when the shuttle system changed at the beginning of fall, that stop disappeared and so did the field trips the center provided to on-campus events.

Whereas CDRC took approximately three to four field trips last year to on-campus events, it has yet to take any this year, said Pamela Bell, the center’s director.

She said children in preschool rely on hands-on experiences to learn instead of textbooks. And providing children with chances to explore different activities and people helps them to become more aware of the world outside of their heads.

Field trips include outings to the Library, where children read books on the first-floor children’s section.

Bell said the center took children to jazz concerts in the past for 10-15 minutes, so the 4- or 5-year-old toddlers could experience their first exposure to music.

But Vince Smyth, director of UNF Auxiliary Services, said the shuttles’ main purpose is to serve the students from getting to the outermost parking lots to the campus core because student fees may for shuttle operation.

Smyth said sometimes faculty, staff and other departments are able to benefit from the shuttle service, but their needs should not be compromised at the expense of the students.

If the weather permits, Bell said the center may try to take the children walking to the main campus in the future, despite the difficulty it may present.

Smyth said the cutoffs for the shuttle stop at Lot 14 will not be replaced due to the expense it would present.

He said other service shuttles, such as Osprey Transit, which helps transport individuals requiring mobility assistance to very specific locations, may utilize the Lot 14 cutoff.

For now, Bell said the center is leaving it up to parents to get their children to on-campus activities.

Email Noor Ashouri at [email protected].