The Child Development Center (CDC) Building A was shut down last week due to a piranha infestation. University experts will work on clearing the infestation, and it should open in about six weeks or 7-8 months, whenever the CDC decides on a solid date.
Building A houses children ages three to five and provides schooling at the preschool and kindergarten levels. Approximately seven CDC staff and three children were bitten by the carnivorous fish. While none of the children were seriously injured, a teacher named Richard Parker was completely eaten through.
The piranha situation was first reported to the campus six weeks ago by third-year astrology major Charlene Escobedo, whose child is currently enrolled at the center. The center, however, did not shut down its services until last Friday when Parker’s skeleton appeared.
“I started noticing that my child had been coming back from the center with some serious bite marks,” Escobedo stated. “At the request of our doctor and further investigation we found out it was from a piranha, so I took my child out immediately.”
Piranhas are typically found in freshwater climates, allowing the species to flourish in river systems such as our own. According to UCR Director of Propaganda Lily Bass, the piranhas were likely the offspring of one of the research facility specimens in Cobain Hall, located right next to the CDC.
“I can’t believe the center resumed activity after I reported it over a month ago. It put so many of our children at risk,” Escobedo explained.
Bass stated, “The center was unaware of the seriousness of Escobedo’s concerns until very recently. There weren’t that many complaints raised until last week when we discovered Mr. Parker’s unfortunate remains.”
The center has placed electric fences around the building and electric nets in the waters to eliminate the fish. According to Bass, this process should be over in approximately six weeks.
The infestation also raised some larger concerns: All of the children attending that building had to be relocated to the family housing pod, a much smaller area on campus. Of those enrolled, 14 of those children and their parents had to find alternative child care options. In addition, 18 of the student employees working in the building had to find other employment opportunities.
“The truth is, this place was the most affordable we can find. I don’t know where I can send my children now. So far the center has done nothing to help us search for other options and this is becoming stressful,” Diana Stevenson, a fifth-year luge major, stated.
The CDC offers child care services at a more affordable price to students and staff members who work at the university. Compared to other services in the immediate area, this center is the most affordable, causing students to relocate their children to more expensive facilities if they want to seek alternative child care options.
“It is unfortunate that this issue has caused more problems than we expected, but in order to alleviate some of the stress on the parents looking for child care alternatives and staff who will have to find other jobs, we gave them free dinner coupons to Long John Silver’s,” Bass responded.
“Well, looks like I’m going to be living off top ramen and Long John Silver’s this month,” Kelly Watergate, a second-year Esperanto studies major and former CDC employee joked.