Allen Hospital closes daycare center - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Allen Hospital closes daycare center

WATERLOO (KWWL) - An eastern Iowa hospital will soon layoff workers and close its daycare.  A hospital spokesman says it's because the hospital can't afford to pay for the daycare.  A spokesman says Allen Hospital in Waterloo poured in $300,000 a year to run its daycare for its employees.  But the recession caused hospital to decide the money would be better spent on patients at the hospital.  Allen Hospital employees have had the option since 1995 to take their children to a hospital-run daycare.  That option will end June 30th.

"When you figure it out over the next 10 year, you realize that's $3 million to keep the children's program going. The reason it doesn't work is there's lots of other childcare providers in the Cedar Valley, there's only a handful of hospitals and we have to focus the money we have on patient care," said Allen spokesman Jim Waterbury.

Waterbury says only about 60 of the hospital's 1900 employees used the daycare.  The center's 17 workers will probably lose their jobs.  Some may be eligible to be transferred within Allen's system.

"We're trying to give everybody as much notice as we can. Our plan is to keep the center open through June 30, through the end of the school year. We anticipate the last school day here for our kids is June 11th and that gives people 5 months to find new jobs," said Waterbury.

The center started 15 years ago and moved into its current location 3 years ago.  Hospital officials say student-teacher mandates wouldn't allow any type of cut other than closure.

"We really are sorry that it's come to this but the recession affects everybody and the economics have caught up with us and we can't keep it going," said Waterbury.

Most hospitals don't have on-site daycare centers.  Allen's is one of only two in the Iowa Health System it's a part of.  Hospital officials say it was a good recruiting tool for employees but it was an expense they're not able to afford anymore.

Multimedia Journalist:  Bob Waters

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