It was learned at the Nov. 21 New Paltz Town Board meeting that the New Paltz Child Care Center (NPCCC) has closed its doors permanently.
The New Paltz Fire Department responded to a fire alarm going off at the center. While it was a false alarm, the fire department did find a blown light bulb. This was the catalyst for them discovering several maintenance issues within NPCCC.
“It’s a modular unit that was never meant to be a permanent building. The trailer was put up 20 plus years ago [and] it doesn’t really have a long life span,” said Town of New Paltz Supervisor Neil Bettez. “Even after routine maintenance, it’s just not meant to last.”
Every year, the maintenance issues have been getting bigger and bigger. Among the list of needed repairs for the center are a new roof, new railings and an updated electrical system.
“It’s like $100,000 to keep it running now, never mind make it so it doesn’t need another $10,000 every year. We just don’t have the money to do that,” Bettez said.
The issue of reviving the center is complicated by the members involved. The center is run by a non-profit board, in a town-owned building and on school district land. This means that the school can only rent the space to the town and the school can’t work directly with the child care center.
Since the town is responsible for the building, they will have to get outbid, which is a very costly and untimely process.
“Just to even fix the problems that are wrong with it now, with the pace that it takes us to do things, it would be months before we would be able to get the bids out, get the bids back and get the work done,” Bettez said.
The town has decided to close the building and take it down. Currently, the town board is looking over the lease with the school. However, Bettez suspects that the town will be responsible for taking the building down and restoring the site to its original condition.
“Unfortunately, a bunch of people are going to lose their jobs and a bunch of people are going to lose their child care,” Bettez said.
The New Paltz Child Care Center was a non-profit organization that served families with children between the ages of six weeks and five years of age.
Since its opening in 2000, the child care center has received glowing accolades from parents.
“My children have both loved the NPCCC. The care and genuine love of the staff for the children make it a home away from home for them. Thank you so much to the staff at the NPCCC for making this such a wonderful place for my children to learn and grow!” read a review of the center by Kerri Ann on Facebook.
Carol Bacon was the site director and managed the day-to-day activities of the center. Neither Bacon nor any staff member from the center could be reached for comment.
According to a New Paltz Times article, Bettez described the closing of the center as his worst failure in office.
“As someone who has a child in daycare, it is really stressful and really expensive. There is a lot of emotional baggage tied with it because it’s very personal to give your child to someone else,” Bettez said. “But we weren’t able to find a way to keep the center open. I would have liked to have found a way to figure it out, but the economics were too tough to overcome.
New Paltz still offers options for child care. Little Explorers Nursery and Day Care Center, located at 304 Rt. 32 North, is a licensed facility that accommodates children from six weeks to 12-years-old. Little Hands Child Care Center, located at 23 N. Chestnut St., offers child care services for infants through preschool.