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Georgiana childcare center set to open

Administrators of the new Georgiana Hospital Childcare Center have set the date for the grand opening of its new childcare facility, which will open its doors to begin operations on Monday, March 31.

The center’s director is Christy Huggins. Other staff members are Rhonda Thomas, Sandra Schofield, Kelly Skipper, Jackie Calhoun and Angie Binion.

To allow the public to view the center, the staff will host an Open House, Friday, March 28 from 12 to 5 p.m.

&uot;It’s a great chance to view the facility, meet the children’s teachers, get the parent handbook and have some refreshments,&uot; Huggins said. &uot;Information about the childcare costs will be included in a parent packet that we’ve put together. Any questions anyone has can be answered by our staff that day.&uot;

The center’s hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a 30-minute grace period, and is available to children ages 0-5 years, with plans to expand to include a school-age program in the near future.

&uot;This center is open to the children of any area resident,&uot; Huggins stressed. &uot;A lot of people are under the impression that it’s only for hospital employees, but that’s not true.

The center includes play areas for 2 years old and under, another play area for ages 2 and above, classrooms, a Bible study area and separate sick room, nursery, break room and receptionist areas. There also is an outside play area.

The director said that although getting state certification for the center has been time-consuming, everything is in order and the staff is eager to get started.

&uot;We want to get the word out that we are opening the doors,&uot; Huggins said. &uot;We haven’t been able to advertise until we got our state license. It’s been a long, hard road with the state, but now we have everything in order and we’re ready to start.&uot;

So far, the center has been getting rave reviews, the staff reports.

&uot;We have had several people come by with their children to see the center,&uot; assistant director Sandra Thomas said. &uot;The children just cry when the parents make them leave. We already have one of the classes almost full, so those who are interested need to register as soon as possible.&uot;

&uot;We are very happy to have this center ready to open,&uot; hospital administrator Harry Cole said. &uot;We are ready to get the children in here, and offer this service to the community. That’s what it’s all about – filling a community need for childcare services.&uot;

The facility operators also want the Georgiana area residents to know that the center will offer pre-kindergarten instruction to the children.

&uot;This won’t be just a babysitting service,&uot; Huggins said. &uot;This will be a learning center – a wonderful positive environment that will give our children a better start in the educational process than they receive right now. We want them to know that they can have a safe, fun learning experience with people who are here to help them grow.&uot;

When the facility reaches full employment of 15 to 20 people, it will house up to 60 children. The challenge for finding employees is the amount of training that is required, not only by the state, but also by the hospital administration.

The center’s staff has all met the state requirements for childcare facilities, the director said.

&uot;The state has strict requirements for childcare centers,&uot; Huggins said. &uot;The specific qualifications will be outlined in our parent handbook. Beyond that, the hospital has required that the staff has CPR training and certification to work here – the state only requires the director and assistant director to have that. We took it one step beyond – that’s how serious we are about this being a safe environment.&uot;

For information about the center, call 376-4055.