Parents were asked to come pick up their children from a Franklin day care facility as soon as possible this week, and the center was closed after sewage and mold problems were found.
Discovery Center, a daycare facility run by Johnson Memorial Health, will be closed through at least the end of next week as workers make repairs to the facility and conduct testing for mold.
After water was found underneath the floor on Wednesday, parents were notified and told to pick up their children at their earliest convenience. For their safety, children were taken outside to play until their parents picked them up.
Johnson Memorial Health President Larry Heydon sent a letter to parents explaining that the day care needed to be closed until mold particles could be removed, with the goal of having the facility re-open on Aug. 28.
“I wish to again apologize for the unfortunate situation we face and the pressures placed on each one of you from it,” he said in the letter. “We will focus our energies on remedying the situation thus allowing our quality childcare services to re-continue.”
The hospital’s day care facility, which is open to children of staff and the public, had just moved to a new location less than two months ago. The day care was formerly housed at the hospital’s main campus off of Jefferson Street, but moved due to construction for the hospital’s $42 million expansion and redesign.
Johnson Memorial Health is leasing a building at 752 International Dr. from Johnson County REMC for the day care. The building has been owned by Johnson County REMC for 15 years and has always been used as a daycare, Johnson County REMC CEO Chet Aubin said.
The previous tenant, Kid City, moved out about a year ago. Johnson County REMC spent two months renovating the building prior to Discovery Center moving in at the end of June. Kid City hadn’t experienced water leaks or mold, Aubin said.
The building passed a state inspection prior to Discovery Center moving in, he said.
The problems with the water leak became clear when the bathroom floor began to feel soft. Contractors were brought in to check, and they cut a hole in the floor on Wednesday, which revealed extensive water damage in that area of the building, Aubin said.
Whether it was water or sewage that was leaking isn’t known for sure, he said.
Testing is being done to determine if there is mold, Aubin said.
Strong odors at the day care had also become a concern, Johnson Memorial Health spokesperson Jeff Dutton said.
The initial assumption is that leaks in the toilet fixtures gradually caused a backup of sewage water and mold particles, Heydon told parents in the letter.
Once the leak was found, the potential for mold was a safety concern, which prompted the daycare to be closed immediately, Dutton said.
No health issues have been reported so far for either employees or staff, Dutton said.
Parents of the 65 kids at the day care won’t be charged for any days it is closed. They will also be reimbursed an amount equal to 10 percent of their regular payments for each day they miss due to the closure, Dutton said.
Johnson County REMC is covering the cost of the repairs, Aubin said.