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AOL Gets Green

AOL breaks ground on its new environment-friendly child-care center in Ashburn.

By November, the offspring of some of AOL’s employees will be doing their part for the environment, spending their days in the company's new environment-friendly child-care center.

"It's no accident that we are having this ground breaking this week, in with Earth Day," Lance Miyamoto, vice president of human resources for AOL, said. "This is a green building, the first [green child-care facility] in Virginia."

THE 19,000-square-foot center, which will house infants through 2-year-old children, will have water-saving fixtures, use only nonpotable water for landscape maintenance, use florescent bulbs to conserve energy and will have an air-conditioning system without chlorinated fluorocarbons, which are listed as greenhouse gases. In addition, the roof of the new building will be designed to limit the amount of sun heat the building receives and larger windows and skylights will be included to reduce the amount of artificial light used inside the building.

The new center will be located on 5.26 acres directly across from AOL’s current child-care center on Prentice Drive in Ashburn. The current center will continue to provide child care for children over the age of 2.

RANDY FALCO, AOL's chief executive officer, said it was important to him to get the new child-care facility off the ground.

"This is for the mothers and fathers," he said. "This is for the AOL community. Why should anyone be on a waiting list if we can find a way to build another facility?"

Both Falco and Nisha Kumar, AOL’s chief financial officer, said they believed in providing quality child care to their employees because of the impact working mothers, and fathers, have on the economy.

"There are few issues closer to my heart than quality child care," Kumar, a working mother herself, said. "Statistics show that children in child care are more school ready, than those not in child care. Children in child care also have better cognitive and linguistic abilities than those who were not."

WITH OTHER BUSINESSES in the county building environment-friendly buildings, Loudoun County's director of the Department of Economic Development Larry Rosentrauch said the county government should perhaps follow the lead of AOL in the building of its new government center.

"AOL is a model somewhat for the government," he said. "We are going to come and learn from AOL."