FORT CARSON, Colo. - Mountain Post parents and children had a reason to celebrate, thanks to the grand opening of two new state-of-the-art child care centers at Fort Carson Aug. 3.

The construction of the new Patriot Child Development Center and Cheyenne Mountain Child Development Center began in March 2009 and cost approximately $13 million to complete.

According to Armanda Hunt, youth services coordinator, Child, Youth and School Services, development centers are they are well worth the investment. "These new facilities will offer a safe, nurturing and healthy environment for Fort Carson children," she said. "They also create an additional 80 child care spaces for children from 6 weeks to 5 years old."

Both facilities, located on Harr Avenue between Gate 1 and Patriot Elementary School, will provide quality care for more than 350 children from ages 6 weeks to 10 years old, and an easy one-stop drop off site for their parents. About 190 school-age children have been relocated from the Beacon School Age Services building to the new centers.

Children ages 6-10 will attend Patriot CDC, and children from 6 weeks to 5 years will attend Cheyenne Mountain CDC. Hunt said more growth is expected for Fort Carson Child, Youth and School Services with an additional eight centers projected to open by 2014. The increase in facilities will help meet the high demand for additional quality child care.

"We currently serve approximately 3,500 children on post," Hunt said. "By 2014 we expect to be able to serve about 5,500."

According to Patti McLane, facility director for Patriot CDC, both centers offer a wide variety of new and fun activities for all age groups. "It's a totally open concept, which allows children to make choices on what they want to participate in," she said. "This layout is more in line with Department of Defense guidelines. It's challenging and very exciting."

Some of the new features and activities at the centers include gymnasiums, age appropriate playgrounds and computer rooms. There are also new classroom activities including a technology lounge with game systems, a homework room, a woodworking room, a drama room and sewing and crafts rooms. While there are new features, child participation in other CYSS programs and activities won't be affected by the move to the new facility.

"We'll still transport children to the Beacon center for our (Schools of Knowledge, Inspirations, Explorations and Skills) programs until the new SKIES site opens near Forrest Fitness Center in February," McLane said. "We'll also continue to offer services for all on-post schools, before and after (school) care, and summer, fall and winter camps."

According to Col. Robert McLaughlin, Fort Carson garrison commander, quality child care is essential to our Mountain Post community because it allows our Soldiers and Families the peace of mind that their children are being taken care of in a secure environment.

"We're committed to the things we talk about in the Army Family Covenant - to the things we do for our families. It's ultimately how we express our (appreciation) to our Soldiers," McLaughlin said. "Taking care of our kids is tremendously important. It's our commitment to our Soldiers, who are continuing our mission, to know that their kids are being cared for."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16