Ground broken for $5 million child care center
Children from the Child Development Center assist post leaders at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new child care facility May 10 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Jose Nava, 5, assists Jeff Waldroup of Atlantic Marine Construction, the construction contractor; Kail Ayre, 5, assists Ulrike Johnson, director of Child, Youth and School Services' School-Age Services; Phoenix Jaramillo, 5, assists Carol Shafer, director of CYSS; Tyler Horman, 4, assists Bill Waugh, director of Logistics and Public Works; James Gilbert, 5, assists Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. John Cross; Joey Proctor, 4, assists Garrison Commander Col. Wayne Green; Maddox Sommerville, 4, assists Combined Arms Center Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow; and Jacob Mitchell, 4, assists CAC and Fort Leavenworth Commander Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr. All of the children in the ceremony have a parent who is currently or has recently deployed.

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (May 13, 2010) - Even the rain didn't stop leaders and children of Fort Leavenworth from breaking ground in real grass and dirt indoors in preparation for a new child care facility May 10.

A $5 million facility will soon be under construction north of the current Child Development Center at 120 Dickman Ave. Carol Shafer, director of Child, Youth and School Services, said that the facility would be a combination building - for child care under age 5 and for the School-Age Services program.

Sarah Mitchell is the mother of Jacob Mitchell, 4, who shared a groundbreaking shovel with Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.

Mitchell's husband, Maj. Kenneth Mitchell, is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. She said as a working mom, having quality child care was essential.

"I have three children here, so to know that they're well taken care of and loved," Mitchell said. "I think it's needed, absolutely."

Shafer said because the facility's construction is modular, it will take less time to complete than a traditional building. Weather permitting, CYSS is expecting the facility to open in nine to 10 months.
The facility is 15,000 square feet, making it possible to provide 14 more spaces for infants to age 3, 30 more spaces for children ages 3-5 and room to add hourly care during special events. Shafer said exact numbers could be flexible depending on the needs of families.

The building will have a full-use kitchen, two multipurpose rooms and a small computer and technology lab with seven computers and a homework area. It will have attached playgrounds for children under 5 and another play area for school-age children.

"One thing this facility is going to do for us, is we will be configuring spaces and deciding as we open space for CDC programs," Shafer said.

As programs move into the new building, other programs will be able to utilize more space in existing buildings. CYSS plans to eventually move its central registration and enrichment classes, called Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills Unlimited clases, into the Patch building at 320 Pope Ave. that now houses School-Age Services.

"Right now (registration) is inside the CDC, but it's in a very crammed office that's not meeting our patrons' needs," Shafer said.

The facility will have a parking lot with about 34 spaces for parents and 18 spaces for staff, Shafer said.

"The parking is adequate for parking for staff and for parents," Shafer said. "That's what it's designed for. It's not designed for parking for an additional building."

Ulrike Johnson, director of School-Age Services, said the best part of the new facility would be the kitchen. Currently, SAS has to transport food to the Patch building from the CDC. Johnson said she looked forward to being able to have cooking and food projects with school age children.

"We'll have our own playground that's fenced in, and there's no longer fear of children crossing the street," she said.

Celeste Marchbanks, 10, attends Eisenhower Elementary School and goes to School-Age Services after school. She said she's most excited about having a computer lab in the new building.

"I'm hoping the new building is bigger and new, because some people say Patch is haunted," she said.

Page last updated Fri May 14th, 2010 at 09:59