By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Members of the Imperial senior services board have received some initial interest in a private day care operation at the manor.
The manor’s day care, established in 2011, closed Oct. 31. At that time, the day care had been serving an average of eight to nine children a day, said Administrator Nolan Gurnsey.
Two women met with the senior services board at their Oct. 26 meeting to discuss the possibility of renting or leasing the space used previously for the manor’s day care.
No other serious interest in a private day care there has materialized yet, Gurnsey said.
The board and administrator are still discussing rental fees and other details, he said.
There was some concern among city officials about how the day care closing would affect employees at the senior care facilities. One of the reasons it was started was to help employees in securing day care, some of which started work at 6 a.m., too early for other providers.
The facility was also open to the public. Gurnsey said at the height of its use, about half of the children had parents who worked at the senior care facilities.
When it closed Oct. 31, five children belonging to three employees were using the facility, he said. However, once employees knew it would be closing, their numbers began to dwindle as other providers were found, Gurnsey noted.
Since the day care closing was announced, Gurnsey said he’s aware of at least two new in-home day care providers who started taking children.
No employees had to quit because of the closing, he said.
It also helped that work hours were adjusted, mostly in the nursing department, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., Gurnsey added.
In September, on the recommendation of the senior services board, the city council voted to close the day care service, citing the continued loss of funds.
While the city never counted on the day care operation to make money, losses were just too great to continue, according to the senior services board.
Doug Gaswick, chairman of that board, told council members in September it was not fair to residents of the senior care facilities to subsidize the day care operation.
“It is no longer viable for us to be in that business,” he told council members.
Mayor Dwight Coleman also noted at the September meeting that the operation started in 2011 because there was a need at that time for day care and to help retain employees by providing the service on-site, but agreed with the recommendation to close it.
Since 2011, the manor’s day care operation had lost upwards of $311,000. This past year, losses were about $60,000. While down considerably from the 2014 losses of $105,000, the board and council felt closing was necessary.