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Catholic Central out of daycare talks

School had considered taking over hospital program, but deadline caused problems.

Catholic Central School has withdrawn its proposal to take over the Bright Beginnings day care, saying it could not work within the Feb. 1 deadline set for completing the process.

“We’re just not able to do that,” said Kenith C. Britt, president of the school.

“For us to transfer ownership, to hire staff (and) to work with families to set up the organization takes several months not several weeks. And we just can’t work within that timeline,” Britt said.

Dave Lamb, spokesman for Community Mercy Health Partners, current operator of the center, said administrators are “meeting with all three finalists” still interested in the project.

“We’re not there,” said Lamb, “but I would say (we will be) soon.”

He said it would be premature to comment further and did not disclose the names of the finalists.

The day care was founded in the 1950s by the Sisters of Mercy to provide on-site care for the children of hospital employees. It was serving more than 60 children with a staff of 18 just before Thanksgiving when CMHP announced it would stop operating the facility. At the same time, it sent out requests for proposals to those who might be interested in taking over the facility.

CMHP said it was ceasing operations to focus on its core mission of providing high quality health care at Springfield Regional Medical Center and its other local health care facilities.

Britt said that Catholic Central’s strategic plan calls for providing day care services and is “still going to explore options” to do so.

But he said the program, financial and legal reviews needed to make an informed decision can’t be completed in time. He said the loss of children to other day care facilities as the deadline approaches also contributed to Catholic Central’s decision this week.

“We would only be interested in a smooth, successful transition that maintains the high quality that exists in the program. The families deserve that. The students deserve that,” Britt said.

He said that if CMHP “eased the deadline, we would certainly want to explore the opportunity.”

A group of former and current day care parents called Give Our Daycare Time has asked that the deadline be extended to allow for what they call a more reasonable time frame for the process.

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