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Business arranges for care of kids

Honeywell employees will have first dibs on openings in an infant and child care center being built at its complex by R'Club.

By ADRIENNE P. SAMUELS
Published February 16, 2005


PINELLAS PARK - Honeywell's employees make components and systems for space satellites as well as, it appears, quite a few babies.

So, the company is helping create a day care center on its campus - for staffers and for the community.

Honeywell offered 2 acres of its complex at U.S. 19 and Ulmerton Road to the best bidder, which turned out to be R'Club Child Care of St. Petersburg. The private nonprofit plans to build an $800,000 infant and child care center.

Honeywell people get first dibs.

"Infant care is hard to come by," said Art O'Hara, executive director of R'Club. "People with babies or planning on delivering shortly have really expressed interest."

R'Club already runs several day care facilities in Pinellas County, including one in Pinellas Village in the Largo area. The new, planned center would be 8,000 square feet and hold 126 children, including 12 infants.

Honeywell used to operate its own child care facility, but found it to be cost-prohibitive and closed it in 2002. This new facility would be operated entirely by R'Club and would likely cost about $200 to $240 a week for an infant. Final prices are not determined.

"After exploring options that could replace it in late 2004, we sold the land to R'Club for a nominal cost under the agreement that a child care center would be built for employees and the community," said Cathy Gedvilas, a Honeywell spokeswoman.

The building's plans need to be approved by various county agencies. If everything goes as desired, O'Hara said, the building will be completed in five months.

It will include two infant rooms and eight additional classrooms, computers and a few playgrounds.

The teacher-student ratio depends upon the number of infants vs. the number of toddlers. Infant care requires one adult for three infants. The ratio is different for older children.

The center already has a waiting list and it's available to the public, but, O'Hara warns, Honeywell employees will be placed at the top of the list.

"We're not taking enrollments, but give us your name and as we move close to that date, we'll get you signed up," said O'Hara.

People interested in the service should contact R'Club at 578-5437.

Adrienne Samuels can be reached at 445-4157 or samuels@sptimes.com

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 04:30:09]


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