Saint Francis Announces It Will Be Closing On-Site Daycare

Saint Francis told parents it would be closing the Ave Maria Child Development Center, a daycare on its campus. The facility is run by a third-party vendor and serves both Saint Francis workers and families across Tulsa.

Monday, February 26th 2024, 10:38 pm



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Several parents are frustrated after Saint Francis announced it will be closing its on-site daycare and building a parking garage in its place.

Saint Francis told parents it would be closing the Ave Maria Child Development Center, a daycare on its campus.

The facility is run by a third-party vendor and serves both Saint Francis workers and families across Tulsa.

David Bizzaro and his wife don’t work at Saint Francis but have a child at Ave Maria.

They say many of the parents feel like they are left scrambling to find a new place.

"A few of the other parents stopped in the lobby and were like, 'Yeah, what is happening?”’ said Bizzaro. “'What is the plan?' I think that's the thing that is the strangest to us, is that there is no plan being offered."

He says that with the ongoing daycare shortage and years-long waiting list lines, Ave Maria has been convenient because of its connection with the vendor.

"I think that's also one of the benefits of Ave Maria is if you're a medical worker, or if the company you work for has a connection with Bright Horizons, then you get considered beforehand than if someone were to just come in,” said Bizzaro.

Saint Francis sent an email to Ave Maria parents that said:

The continued growth of Saint Francis has brought about positive developments for our future, but it also necessitates challenging decisions. At the Yale campus, the employee parking garage (P6) is approaching end of use and needs to be replaced. Given that more than half of the campus’ parking is located in P6, we will need to construct additional parking before we can begin the demolition of the existing structure. The only location for the new garage that would not impact patent access or care areas is to build on the existing Ave Maria property. As such, we will need to close the building at the end of 2024. This decision will also affect the program at the facility on 61st Street.
We understand the impact this will have on our Saint Francis parents, and we want to assure you that we are actively working on transition plans and have identified excellent options for high-quality childcare that can accommodate current students. 
We recognize the importance of keeping you informed throughout this process. Updates will be provided as decisions are made regarding childcare options and transitional financial assistance. Our next update will be sent on Friday, March 1--if not sooner. In the next communication will we outline the options being reviewed and their associated timelines.  


In a statement to News On 6, Saint Francis said:

We understand the concerns of the 101 Saint Francis employees currently using the childcare facility managed by Bright Horizons on our campus. Saint Francis is working diligently to ensure families will not have their daycare needs interrupted when Ave Maria Building 1 is closed on December 31st, about 10 months from now.
Saint Francis is actively working on transition plans that include excellent options close to Saint Francis Hospital for high-quality childcare that can serve current students.
Ave Maria Building 1 will be closed in order to accommodate necessary construction plans at Saint Francis Hospital- the other childcare facility on campus will not be impacted by construction. This is not an easy decision, but one that is needed to better serve our patients and our community.

Bizzaro hopes everyone can find a new place to go before the end of the year.

"You get this childcare and that childcare becomes part of your village, it becomes a part of your family,” said Bizzaro. “When you don't have that, or if it just suddenly goes away, it really upsets your routine and your life."

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