Parents outraged over closure of Monroe County daycare

Parents outraged over closure of Monroe County daycare

Posted:
Friday was the final day of operation at the Tellico West Child Development Center in Vonore. Friday was the final day of operation at the Tellico West Child Development Center in Vonore.
Parents who take their children there say they were not given enough warning that the daycare was about to close, leaving them struggling to find a new place for their children to go. Parents who take their children there say they were not given enough warning that the daycare was about to close, leaving them struggling to find a new place for their children to go.
By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

VONORE (WATE) - Some Monroe County parents are outraged after a business expansion forced the closure of the county's only designated daycare.

Friday was the final day of operation at the Tellico West Child Development Center in Vonore.

Parents who take their children there say they were not given enough warning that the daycare was about to close, leaving them struggling to find a new place for their children to go.

The daycare has been in operation for 13 years, located in Vonore’s Tellico West Industrial Properties park.

It’s been a godsend for Monroe County families in that time, providing educational care for children ages three months to five years.

"When you drop them off, you know they're going to be well taken care of,” said Happy Arrowood of Vonore, who has taken all three of her daughters to Tellico West.

Everything was business as usual until a few weeks ago, when parents picking up their kids were handed a letter telling them with no explanation that the center would be closing permanently in one month.

"All the parents including the teachers were just stunned,” said Arrowood.

Since then, Arrowood and other parents have been scrambling, trying to find somewhere else to take their children.

"I mean this has been our steady childcare forever and I never thought I'd have to take my children to another place,” said Arrowood.

They had until Friday to do so.

"They're here on the last day and scrounging to find someone to take care of their child,” said Arrowood.

The letter came from the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency, or TRDA, the company that operates the industrial park.

TRDA Executive Director Ron Hammontree tells 6 News a business expansion is forcing them to take back the building they loaned the daycare.

Parents say they understand that, but believe they should have been given more warning months ago, especially since Tellico West was the only designated daycare in all of Monroe County.

"I wish the parents would have been more in the know, and had more knowledge about what was going on instead of just 'here's a letter. We're closing you down,’” said Arrowood.

"Now I have to find a facility outside of my county, which means driving 45 minutes one way,” said Sherri Hayes of Vonore.

Hayes says parents are also concerned for the staff at Tellico West, who are now jobless and have been given no help as far as finding new jobs.

Tellico West Child Development Center has no plans to open in a new site.

Hammontree says the expansion will bring somewhere between 150 and 200 new jobs to the area.

6 News also reached out to Monroe County Mayor Tim Yates, who is Vice Chairman of the TRDA board of directors.

He did not wish to comment and directed us to Hammontree.

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