Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' newly constructed facility is offering employees a mix of services that can't be found just anywhere on the Palouse.
With the construction of its 28,000 square foot Family Center, SEL is providing its employees with onsite childcare services, a workout facility and healthcare services all in one.
The Family Center was a $4 million project and became operational this year.
The Little Edisons School handles all SEL's childcare services and claims the entire bottom floor of the two story facility. LES has extended hours to accommodate both SEL's day and swing shift employees.
The school provides services for as many as 150 children and is operated by 26 fulltime employees and five substitute teachers.
Michele Beehler, SEL's human resource manager, said parents will often walk over to the facility during lunch or dinner and eat with their children. LES offers care for children of all ages, and while there are four different age classes at the school, all the children are taught similar subject matter so they can socialize and brainstorm topics together.
LES offers sign language, Spanish, music and physical education, as well as a few other courses.
The toddler and infant areas of the school feature small toilets with handles and miniature sinks in order to help potty-train the youngsters.
LES offers private rooms for mothers who are breastfeeding as well as rooms for children who are sick or waiting for a ride home.
Nichole Nicholson, the school's chef, said she makes 90 percent of all the school's meals from scratch. On top of that, Nicholson also prepares food for children with a number of different diets. Nicholson said some children she cooks for are vegetarian, have food allergies or require different dishes due to religious purposes.
Just like any other school, safety is one of the main concerns at LES.
To enter the building one has to use a biometric finger scanner, a device that measures the size and shape of a person's finger. Moreover, some major traffic exits are equipped with alarms to inform staff a child may have exited the building.
The LES playground is divided into two sections, one for toddlers and one for preschool aged children and above. The entire playground is fenced in.
Beehler said SEL employees who use the service aren't required to pay for diaper ointment, formula or an annual enrollment fee that is found at other child care centers.
For safety purposes, there are no stairs connecting the school to the Health Clinic and WellBeing Center on the second floor of the facility.
SEL's Health Clinic is a free service for employees. Beehler said the clinic has seven exam rooms and has already sent 300 referrals to physicians throughout the community in 2014. The clinic includes two nurse practitioners, two registered nurses, one medical assistant and one doctor of medicine, who will be starting at the clinic April 1. The upstairs health facilities opened in early March.
Stacey Doty, director of human resources at SEL, said the service can provide anything found at a regular clinic, excluding xrays.
The SEL WellBeing Center is not only open to SEL employees but also for their families.
"We have over 75 spouses using the fitness facility," Beehler said.
Although SEL has had a workout room since 2010, the new space is much larger and can accommodate more people.
The WellBeing Center includes three wellness specialists, whom are all certified personal trainers and assist in physical and nutritional training.
These same trainers teach P.E. to the children downstairs at LES.
Reprinted with the permission of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Copyright 2015.