New Child Development Center at Fort Myer
Children enjoy one of the playgrounds surrounding the new Child Development Center at Fort Myer, Virginia. The new CDC is the largest child care center in the Department of Defense. It combines multiple Child and Youth Services programs under one roof, making it more convenient for service personnel and their children.

<b>FORT MYER, Va.</B> - One won't have to go far to see the biggest Department of Defense Child care center. Starting next week, it will be located at Fort Myer.

The new, 50,831-square-foot center offers DoD families a state-of-the-art learning facility for their children. The space will be shared by the Child and Youth Services and the Youth and School Age Services program.

"It's going to make it easier for parents who used to have to bring their kids to a few different locations," said Todd Hopkins, program director for the School Age program. "The parents we've talked to are very excited and impressed with the new facility."

The building became a necessity after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when security concerns mandated a different location for DoD children. The new CDC will be available to all members of the Fort Myer Military Community, including Fort Myer, the Pentagon, Fort McNair, Henderson Hall, and other Military District of Washington facilities.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the new CDC will have space for 438 children, which breaks down as 348 children from six weeks to five years old, and another 90 children age six to 12.

"It's going to be nice to have everyone under one roof," said Yvonne Lister, director of the CDC. "This will enable us to combine our efforts in meeting the children's needs." There is an atrium, activity rooms, computer labs, a multi-purpose room, a kitchen, laundry space and outdoor activity space.

"We're in love with the new multi-purpose room especially," said Hopkins. "It's almost double the size of the previous one and we've already used it a lot in the first week." The building itself will mesh well with the other buildings on Fort Myer. Architecturally, it will use the same brick facades that other historical buildings on post have, and the roof is being built with the dark slate-like material that tops other buildings. This allows the building to fit into the historical design of Fort Myer.

The School Age Program moved into the building on June 23, and they are already happy to be in their new digs.

"Every 45 minutes we have something new for the kids to do," said Phyllis Blackburn, program lead for the School Age Program. "They can go play sports, do a cooking project, there's always something. We had a child fall asleep at his table last week, he was so worn out."

The new CDC represents the Fort Myer Military Community's efforts to be at the forefront of DoD education.

"The Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command is working with Fort Myer CYS to develop a center of excellence to train CYS staff from around the world," said Jamie Ruffini, Fort Myer CYS Coordinator. "We will also become a pilot program for new initiatives. My staff is very excited about this prospect and is committed to undertake whatever steps are necessary to reach this goal."

There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony 3 p.m. July 15.

Page last updated Mon July 7th, 2008 at 15:43