Parents, staff, and more upset over AUMC Child Care Center closing

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Thursday, June 13th, 2019 / News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University Medical Center's daycare is closing its doors, and tonight, parents came together to find out why they're doing it.

Those parents, medical residents and staff say they are devastated and blindsided.

Becky Gilmore's son Bo just turned a year old last week.

"The first we heard about this decision was Tuesday morning," she told News 12.

She found out yesterday, she now has 2 months to find another facility for him, and balance a full time job at AUMC.

"I was in tears. I don't know what I'll do. There's not another facility in the area that provides the quality of care that they do here," she said, fighting back tears.

The university told parents, most of whom also work or study at AU, it was purely business.

"It felt like they looked at some numbers on a spreadsheet...and made their decision from that," Gilmore said.

"We asked ourselves the question: is this the highest and best use of the tuition and tax dollars that we get?" said Dr. Karla Leeper, who is Executive Vice President of Operations at AU.

Leeper told News 12 the decision was tough, but, with less than 40 kids enrolled--and the facility losing money (almost half a million this year)--it had to be done.

"I believe this decision has been made. I don't believe there is going to be much of a chance for an extension," she said, in reference to extending the closure deadline beyond August 16th.

This led parents like Jing Wang to wonder why they showed up in the first place when the decision was already made.

"I don't think anyone who was actually truly involved in the daycare--or used it as a service--was given the opportunity to express how much it meant to us," Wang said.

He told News 12 that he and his wife searched for months to find the best place for their son.

Now they're back to square one.

"To have to do all those things in two months...we just don't know," he reflected.

"Everyone at the center is now looking at the same places that already have wait lists," Gilmore added.

Gilmore says most good facilities have waits upwards of 6 months, meaning working mother's like her have no options.

"There's a very real chance that I have leave my job," she said.

AU says they're looking to find jobs for the 10 staff members who are losing their jobs. Families want an extension of the 2 month deadline to find somewhere new. Check back with us for updates.