Erlanger reviews hours at Volkswagen day care

Erlanger reviews hours at Volkswagen day care

February 16th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Volkswagen day care

Photo by Laura McNutt/Times Free Press.

Erlanger says it's taking another look at earlier plans to cut the hours of its struggling day care center near Volkswagen's auto assembly plant.

Gregg Gentry, Erlanger's chief administrative officer, said Friday it's evaluating the requests of VW and other workers who complained the planned changes would create a hardship.

"After meeting with family members who use our day care center and hearing their concerns, Erlanger is evaluating how to accommodate their requests and be fiscally responsible," he said in an e-mail.

Scott Wilson, a VW spokesman, said the automaker is in negotiations with Erlanger about the day care center. Erlanger has requested the company provide a financial subsidy to help the facility, and Wilson said that's part of the talks. He declined to say how much of a subsidy VW might provide.

Wilson said that, at present, there's no change in the hours of the day care, adding that the facility offers a valuable service for the automaker's employees.

Last week, an Erlanger official told parents that plans were to cut night and weekend hours at the end of the month at the center that sits near the VW plant on Volkswagen Drive.

Donna Bourdon, president of Erlanger subsidiary Erlanger Pharmacies, also told parents then that it was taking over operation of the day care from a private company because the facility's business model isn't working. She said the center can hold 200 children, but only 88 were enrolled.

"At this point, it's not a sustainable model," Bourdon said.

But, after listening to a roomful of parents' complaints, she told them that "I'll go back to the drawing board ... but I don't know if we can do it" and keep service at nights.

At the meeting, VW employees complained loudly about the changes which had been offered by Erlanger.

Lindsay Scruggs, who works at VW with husband Matt, said they were planning to pull their 2 year old out of the program because of the cutback.

Some also expressed worries that they or their family members would have to give up their jobs at VW because of the planned cuts.

Over a year ago, Erlanger opened the $2.6 million, 13,400-square-foot day care facility next to Erlanger's health and wellness center.