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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Area 30 childcare closing

Monday, June 8, 2009

The childcare program at Area 30 Career Center will close its doors on June 26.

But that doesn't mean no childcare will be available through the facility. Putnam County Head Start will lease the space the childcare center currently occupies, and will begin serving area children in August.

Area 30 executive director Lora Wood stressed that the closure of the facility's center was solely an economic decision.

"We've been thinking about bringing Head Start in for a while, knowing that we still needed to offer childcare but knowing that it was not financially feasible to do it ourselves," she said. "This way we can offer the childcare, and because we're leasing the space it will be a source of income for the school."

Area 30's early childhood education students will work with Head Start students in much the same manner they have worked with students at the career center's childcare facility. A major difference will be that Head Start serves children up to the age of 5, where Area 30 had slots for children as old as 12. Klinger said the center had only a few children older than 5 enrolled.

The tanking economy has had a trickle-down effect on the center.

"As moms and dads lost jobs, we lost kids," said childcare director Chris Klinger. "I tried to recruit, but it just wasn't happening."

Wood lauded Klinger's efforts.

"This closure is by no means a reflection of (Klinger's) work here," she said. "It's a reflection of the economy. Period."

The Area 30 Childcare Center opened on July 20, 1999, headed up by early childhood education director Nancy Mendenhall, who still holds that position.

"The center has had a long tenure and has done a lot of good things," Klinger said.

Wood agreed.

"We've employed a lot of our students and been a training site for internships and employment opportunities," she said. "The program has always been a good one and has always gotten rave reviews from the state."

Head Start will be enrolling as many children as possible from the Area 30 center, Klinger said. Klinger has been helping parents who do not wish to enroll their children in Head Start to find suitable alternatives.

Wood said Area 30 early childhood education students have been involved with Head Start for some time.

"Our high school students have interned and had work experience there, so that relationship is nothing new," she said.

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