Why is the Lighthouse CDC location changing?

SMUD, Sacramento State and UC Davis Health have joined forces to create a new child development center in Sacramento. The partnership will bring 100 new quality child care spaces to Sacramento, reducing the shortage of quality child care options available to working families. The new center will replace the Lighthouse Child Development Center, SMUD’s on-site facility. The current building is at end-of-life. Lighthouse will remain open until tenant improvements at the new location are complete.

Where is the new child development center?

The new center is at 6011 Folsom Blvd.

Does SMUD own the building?

No. The building is owned by University Enterprises, Inc. (UEI), a nonprofit auxiliary organization of Sacramento State that creates and manages programs and services for the college. UEI manages Sacramento State’s book store, several campus eateries and on-site child care center.

SMUD signed a 15-year lease on the property and SMUD, Sacramento State and UC Davis Health will share costs equally.

What are the benefits of moving to a new location?

The new location will deliver several benefits:

  • Increased size and capacity: The approximately 17,000-square foot facility can accommodate up to 207 children, more than doubling the current capacity at Lighthouse, adding much-needed quality child care slots for our community.

  • Close proximity to SMUD, Sacramento State and UC Davis Health.

  • More than 15,000-square feet of outdoor space, including a new playground.

  • New and modern amenities that are purpose-built for child care.

When will the center transition take place?

Tenant improvements will begin at the new location in the summer of 2021 and are expected to take approximately 10-12 months. The Lighthouse Child Development Center will remain open until renovations at the new center are complete. The new center is expected to open in the summer of 2022. Our goal is for continuity of care – before, during and after the move to the new child development center.

What will the size of the new center be?

The new center is approximately 17,000 square feet and will have up to 207 full-time child care spaces.

Impact to families and children

Will the center tuition increase for existing families?

We will be working with our partners and operator to develop the fee structure for the new center. We’re committed to continuing to keep child care costs affordable for Sacramento families.

An important part of the transition plan is developing a tuition structure for the new location that’s cost reflective while keeping rates as low as possible. It’s important to note that prior to Lighthouse’s tuition increase last year they had not increased for many years. A review of nearby tuition shows that Lighthouse tuition is below market rates, and significantly so for infants and toddlers. Because of this, we anticipate an increase in tuition.

SMUD, Sacramento State and UC Davis Health, along with the new operator, will develop a detailed transition and operational plan. We know current Lighthouse families and community members will want detailed information about the enrollment process, pricing, waitlists and more.

Will the Lighthouse CDC owner/leadership change?

Our goal is continuity of care – before, during and after the move to the new child development center. We’ve invited the Lighthouse director to move to the new facility for the first few weeks to assist with the children’s and families’ transition.

Are my child’s teachers going to change? What steps are being taken to retain teachers? 

Our goal is continuity of care. Lighthouse management and staff has been invited to move to the new center.

Will classroom ratios change?

Lighthouse ratios are at or better than mandated ratios. This will continue at the new center where the ratios and group sizes will reflect NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Accreditation standards.

Will the curriculum stay the same?

SMUD, UC Davis Health and Sacramento State are committed to achieving National Association for the Education of Young Children standards at the new location. This may result in some curriculum changes to meet these standards.

How will this affect my child?

The new center will be renovated inside and out and will feature a new playground. There will be more space per child and newer amenities such as furniture, fittings and fixtures. In addition, the new space will offer a wonderful work environment for your child’s teacher.

What will be different at the new center? Food program, resources?

The new center will feature new and purpose-built child-care amenities, including a new playground and significantly more space. We’re working with the operator and our partners on a transition plan to ensure consistency of care. We’ll share updates about the key features of the center during design, construction and transition to the new location.

Will the center hours of operation and holiday schedule stay the same?

Our goal is consistency – for the children’s care and hours of service.

Will there be a disruption of care during the center transition?

Our goal is consistency of care during the transition to the new center without interruption.


Will the center name change?

Once the new operator is approved, the employer partners will work with the operator to develop a transition plan for the move to and operation of the new child care center. The name of the center is one of the decisions that needs to be made during the development of the transition plan.

Registration, waitlist, fees

How does the waitlist work?

We’ll be developing enrollment, pricing and other details as part of the transition plan with the operator. We’ll share more information once details have been finalized and post this information to the new website, once available.

Do existing families receive priority at the new center?

Yes, all current Lighthouse families are invited to transition to the new location.

Additional Questions from Lighthouse Staff and Parents

What is the timeline for transition and opening to new staff/children?

Summer 2022.

How will this be communicated to staff going forward? Can there be ongoing input from incoming staff and families? Who will the assigned point of contact be?

Opportunity for monthly updates in the parent/staff newsletter.

This is part of the RFP process that we cannot go into much detail on. The new operator will develop a pre-opening plan, identify appropriate areas for input and a method for sharing updates will be determined as well.  In the meantime, you’ll find a list of additional FAQs on the child development center’s website at


What sort of schooling/training requirements will staff be subject to? Can these be communicated to staff early on? Will this be tied to pay?

This will be determined by the new operator that is selected.

Will pay, benefits, and leave be standardized and what will this look like? Can this be communicated to staff?

SMUD has asked that the new operator provide market pay and competitive benefits.  The ultimate pay and benefits will be determined by the operator and communicated directly to staff.  This would be treated as confidential between the operator and the employees.

Will some practices at the current center be “grandfathered” in, i.e. flexible schedules and team teaching?

This would be up to the new operator to decide.

Are the providers open to flexibility in curriculum or will it all be standardized?

The new operator will determine the curriculum based on factors that they deem to be important in ensuring that they offer high-quality early childhood education.

How will staff and a new director be chosen? Hoping staff will not have to apply for their jobs. Will an internal candidate be considered for the director position?

The new operator will determine any selection processes that it will rely on for roles within the center.  In addition, we have communicated our desire for all existing staff that are in good standing move to the new center.

Will there be an opportunity for staff to provide feedback on design (has this started)? Two relevant questions-shade/rain cover on the playground and direct access to classrooms (not having to go through each classroom to get to another).

Architects who are very experienced in the design of child development centers have completed the design work and the plans are in final stages of approval by the City. There are shade structures and each classroom has access to the outdoor play area.  Preliminary drawings can be seen in the presentation to the SMUD Board at located at the bottom of the home page.

Is there a plan for special needs students?

Yes, we have asked respondents to address how they will accommodate children with special needs.

Will there be opportunities for more regular staff meetings and professional growth hours/seminars?

This will be determined by the selected operator.  All bidders offer professional development opportunities for their staff.

More information

Q. How can I find enrollment information or other important updates?

We’ll be developing enrollment, pricing and other details as part of the transition plan. We’ll share more information once details have been finalized and post this information to the website, once available.