FAA-owned day care to close in 120 days

By Ashley Harding, General assignment reporter, aharding@wjxt.com
Published On: May 15 2014 04:46:54 PM EDT
Updated On: May 15 2014 04:56:21 PM EDT
Jumping Jax Child Development Center
HILLIARD, Fla. -

Some Nassau County parents are relieved to know their children's day care will remain open for a short time longer.

It's a much different story from 24 hours earlier, when they were left blind-sided.

The parents of children who attend Jumping Jax Child Development Center, located at West County Road 108 in Hilliard, were notified Wednesday that the day care would close its doors Friday.

The day care is owned by the Federal Aviation Administration and services FAA employees.

The FAA sent a letter Thursday saying it will keep Jumping Jax open for 120 more days, giving parents enough time to find a new place to take their kids.

"The center is part of the community. It's been here for 20 years," said Heather Fisk, whose son goes to the day care.

The day care is a place for young kids to learn and grow, have fun and interact with staff.

"It really upsets me and it hurts a lot because, like I said, this school has been here for years," Fisk said.

Parents were left in limbo after learning Wednesday that Jumping Jax would be closing its doors on Friday.

"I happened to find out late last night and I just couldn't believe it," said Linda Purvis, whose grandson attends the day care. "I thought they were closing and going to rebuild, and now we find out they're not going to open it back up at all."

The reason for closing all boils down to safety. The building has a number of structural deficiencies, including a damaged roof. FAA officials said fixing it would cost too much.

"I never noticed it being unsafe," Purvis said. "I've been up here for two years now and I've never noticed anything. The playground is one of the top playgrounds around anywhere."

According to the FAA, the building that houses Jumping Jax was only temporary. That was 20 years ago.

In 2012, parents spent money building a new playground. They were left asking, if the center was going to close, why build it at all?

"If it's a money issue, then why put a playground in like they did?" Purvis said. "That was a fortune they put into that playground."

"I feel like if we had gotten more information sooner, maybe we would be able to make contingency plans," said Elizabeth Oxfouth, whose son goes to Jumping Jax. "But no one found anything out until Tuesday, and then the parents didn't find out until this morning."

Before closing in four months, the agency will begin emergency repairs on the building this weekend.

The FAA said it does not have enough funding in its budget to build a permanent replacement facility for the day care.

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