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The patron saint of child care

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Valley View Hospital is very close to reopening its Early Learning Center and continuing to provide hospital employees with child care.

According to Daniel Biggs, administrative director of human resources at Valley View Hospital (VVH), the hospital is in the final steps of negotiations with its neighbor ” St. Barnabas Episcopal Church ” to rent space for the Early Learning Center (ELC) and begin daily operations by no later than June 30. The previous facility was closed May 23, after engineers deemed the building it was operating in was “structurally unsafe,” as worded in a letter to parents.

“We’ve had a fire marshal approve the new facility, and we’ve received the license and are ready to go,” Biggs said. “I have every confidence that we will hit the June 30th date.”



The new facility will be in the parish hall in the lower level of St. Barnabas, which is located next door to the former ELC. To begin with, the St. Barnabas facility will provide service to the same number of employees ” 23 children at any one time ” as the former ELC, Biggs said. But Biggs said that the new facility and program are licensed for up to 40 children at one time, but would first need to provide additional staffing.

“It gives the opportunity to expand in the future,” Biggs said. “However, we will be opening immediately with the same number as we had prior to closing. Over the next couple of months we will be looking to expand.”



Biggs said that the final step needing to complete the process was for the hospital to actually sign the lease with the church before the program can move forward. The lease was being reviewed by the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, to which the church belongs, according to Torey Lightcap, priest-in-charge of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.

“We want to make sure that we’ve clarified the agreement completely,” Lightcap said. “We are an entity of the Episcopal Diocese of Colorado, and we have to make sure that everything involving the church and this program is copacetic with them as well.”

Lightcap said that he sees no reason for the lease not to go forward.

“Everyone is working to make this happen,” Lightcap said. “We don’t see any deal breakers, but it’s not official, yet.”

Despite the lease not being formally signed, some upgrades have already been made to the facility, including a fire detection system that will alert the Glenwood Fire Department directly in the instance of fire. The upgrades were paid for by VVH, according to Lightcap.

“That was part of the requirement of being able to run the program out of this facility,” Lightcap said. “But all the requirements have been made to keep the kids safe.”

Biggs was extremely thankful for the help of St. Barnabas, especially due to the facility’s close proximity to the hospital, keeping it convenient for those that use the program. Lightcap said that this is part of the church’s responsibility to its community.

“Part of the church’s job is respond to local issues when it’s needed,” Lightcap said. “We are thrilled that we have the opportunity to play a part in that we have the gift of space and the hospital has the gift of child care for its employees. We want to support that any way we can.”

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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