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Stories & Snapshots

Former Office Transforms into Daycare for Children of Healthcare Workers

Previously a school, Epic’s old headquarters sees crayons, toys, and puzzles once again as it’s repurposed into an emergency childcare center

The community in Dane County, Wisconsin, is coming together to support those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. Together, UW Health, UnityPoint Health‒Meriter, and Epic opened a temporary childcare center for the children of essential healthcare staff.

Epic is donating the use of its building on Tokay Blvd. in Madison, as well as nutritious meals cooked by the Epic culinary team. Families also take home a free loaf of bread made by Epic’s bakers twice a week. Meriter is licensing and operating the new facility as an expansion of its childcare program. UW Health provided furniture and other essential items for the daycare. The center is staffed by Meriter and UW Health employees and cares for children ages 6 months to 13 years.

“This incredible collaboration fills a timely need for healthcare workers in Dane County,” said Betsy Clough, Interim Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at UW Health. “We are incredibly grateful for the assistance from our healthcare partners in support of our employees and local emergency first responders.”

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To minimize the risk of infection within the center, the space is designed to facilitate social distancing and keep people in separate areas. The building is deep cleaned by a professional cleaning service twice a day. In addition, all staff are trained to wipe down surfaces after leaving a room. At drop-off, only one family may enter at a time and temperatures are taken of all children and adults at check-in.

“Right now, it’s paramount that we remove barriers so that our healthcare teams can come to work if they’re able,” said Meriter President and CEO Sue Erickson. “This partnership has stepped up to help make that possible, and we’re proud to be part of it.”

The building originally served as a school. It housed Epic’s headquarters from 1994 until Epic moved to its current campus in Verona. In other times of need, Epic has offered the facility to the community. In 2018, the building was repurposed as a temporary clinic space for Group Health Cooperative staff and patients after severe flooding damaged GHC’s Sauk Trails Clinic.

“We’re thrilled that healthcare workers can make use of Tokay for this critical need,” said Sverre Roang, Epic chief administrative officer.

See the full story from ABC’s WKOW.

Photo caption: Epic’s former headquarters on Tokay Blvd. in Madison, Wisconsin.