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MLK day care may reopen

The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center may reopen for business today after being shut down for violating state fire codes.

The center, at 845 S. Sherman St., was issued a new certificate of occupancy Tuesday but must still be investigated by the state fire marshal before it reopens. Center Director Freda Gandy said Spokane Mayor David Condon personally delivered the certificate.

“I think we have all lost sight of the bigger picture, and we need to check the finger-pointing, animosity and egos at the door … to find a creative solution to the problem and start thinking about who this is affecting,” Gandy said.

The day care was closed Friday for failing to abide by conditions imposed by the city in lieu of installing fire sprinklers. Those conditions included hiring a “fire watch” to be present at all times, and an inspection by the state fire marshal.

It serves about 250 to 300 families; some 25 children were sent home Friday when the center was closed. Gandy said then that the situation could become acute this week as Spokane Public Schools reopen and parents need after-school child care.

City Building Official Joe Wizner said he sent electrical inspectors to the center Tuesday morning to see if other conditions were met, including that emergency exits were lit and that the number of extension cords used there was reduced, as requested by the fire marshal. Wizner also said the center had a contract to put a fire watch in place, allowing him to issue the certificate of occupancy.

“The main thing is to get them running again,” Wizner said.

The center must undergo another inspection by a fire marshal before the state Department of Early Learning lifts its suspension, an agency representative said.

The center can remain open at its current location until Feb. 29, but Gandy said in a previous interview that the center wants to relocate to the building that formerly housed the Discovery School at 323 S. Grant St.