Dozens of Charlotte parents are looking for new day cares and staff members are scrambling for new jobs after getting final notice that Bank of Americas child care center uptown will close in September.
The bank had sponsored the center in uptowns Fourth Ward for more than 20 years as part of an initiative by then-CEO Hugh McColl Jr. to recruit talent and boost employee productivity. A portrait of McColl surrounded by children still hangs in the centers hallways.
Bank of America first confirmed in September that it would end its subsidy for the banks 10 centers around the country in order to focus on programs that are broadly accessible to employees, according to a letter sent to employees at the time. Other child care sites include New York City and Jacksonville, Fla.
All locations were initially slated to close June 28. The date was pushed back to Sept. 6 to give parents more time to find new child care arrangements, bank spokeswoman Ferris Morrison said.
We continue to support our employees in their search for alternate care, she said.
Massachusetts-based Bright Horizons, which operates the day cares, explored ways to open sites without the banks backing to serve those families. In three cities Jacksonville, Fla., Wilmington, Del., and Hopewell, N.J. it will do so. That wont be an option at the Charlotte location.
When the bank made their decision, we were hopeful we would be able to find an alternative solution for families. Ultimately, that wasnt feasible, Bright Horizons spokeswoman Bridget Perry. We will continue to support the bank and their families as they search for alternative care.
Bank of America owns the Charlotte day care center building, at 300 N. Poplar St., and has shopped it to buyers for $5.8 million, according to marketing materials. The bank would not say whether the building was still on the market.
Employees at the center, which cared for about 170 children at its peak, were notified last week that the center would close this fall. Parents were informed of the final decision soon after.
When the decision was announced last fall, the bank said closing the centers would affect less than 1 percent of its workforce, or fewer than 2,750 workers.
This is a real blow to families, said Jeff Robinson, who lives in Fourth Ward and has sent two children to the day care. I think its short-sighted for the community, and short-sighted for the center city.
Not long after the bank announced it would close the child care centers, it announced it would add restrictions to its popular work-from-home program.
Bank of America has won recognition for family-friendly employee policies. Last year, it was once again named to Working Mother magazines annual list of the countrys best companies for working moms. It also maintains a child care benefit program that reimburses employees who make less than $50,000 up to $240 per month, per child, for child care expenses.
Dunn: 704-358-5235;Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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