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UCCS to add breastfeeding and pumping rooms on campus for students, staff and visitors | Local News

Based on a proposal the University of Colorado Board of Trustees approved last week, the Colorado Springs campus plans to build four additional lactation spaces in the coming months, with a total of 11 planned. for construction over the next few years.

UCCS is also revamping its lactation policy to exceed local, state and federal guidelines.

“It’s the right thing to do for the community,” said Chris Valentine, spokesman for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Under the new resolution from the Board of Regents, all four UC campuses are updating their policies and increasing the number of nursing and pumping spaces for students, employees and visitors.

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Promoting the health of mothers and infants and being family-friendly are among the reasons cited. Major health organizations, including the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, recommend that babies receive breast milk for the first six months of life.

UCCS already has three lactation rooms on campus: a repurposed space in the Student Center; a venue at the Ent Center for the Arts complex, which opened in 2015; and the Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center, a clinical practice and research program that opened in 2020.

The last two were built in the original design of the buildings.

The four additional halls in the immediate future will be in University Hall, Main Hall, El Pomar Center and Columbine Hall, which Valentine says will ensure even distribution across campus.

The university does not track lactation room usage or the number of students or staff who have babies, he said.

UCCS’s official enrollment for the spring semester is 10,363 students, a decrease of more than 1,000 students from the fall semester, but within the range projected in the annual campus budget, said Valentine.

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Although various industry standards exist, the Regents have not stipulated the number of lactation rooms that UCCS must provide.

The goal, Valentine said, is to “create easy access to a lactation space from anywhere on campus.” That means having a dedicated area five minutes from anywhere on school grounds, he said.

Federal and state laws protect nursing mothers returning to work, stipulating that they have a space other than a bathroom stall to express milk or breastfeed in private and that they are given breaks to do so.

Upgrading additional lactation rooms at UCCS would cost about $225 per square foot, with the average space being about 140 square feet, according to Valentine. The price includes the cost of adding plumbing for a sink, as well as a refrigerator.

UCCS lags behind other UC campuses in developing lactation rooms, Valentine said.

For example, the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora has 21 spaces dedicated to lactation and is immediately adding eight more to its Health Sciences building. The campus will also provide Mamava Pods, self-contained lactation spaces, to the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes.

CU Boulder has 18 lactation spaces, which exceeds the 15 deemed necessary based on campus population. However, the campus has identified the potential need for additional space for underserved areas, according to board documents.

The system’s four campuses are also making menstrual hygiene products more widely available in public restrooms in university buildings. UCCS has the items in four of its buildings, with plans for expansion, Valentine said.

The program follows the lead of state lawmakers, which last year implemented a grant program to provide free sanitary products to students in eligible K-12 schools.

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