By By Arthur Jankowski, USAG-DTA Public Affairs OfficerDecember 4, 2008
Speaking of doing the improbable, the staff of the Detroit Arsenal's Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS) recently did just that.
While it normally takes 3 to 4 weeks to move into a new building, CYSS associates went above and beyond the call of duty by setting up and moving into the recently completed Child Development Center (CDC) at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI, in just 4 days. This is an accomplishment unmatched by any other Army child development facility.
The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) mandated the closure of all Army Garrison run operations at Selfridge Air National Guard Base (SANG), including the Child Development Center there.
The BRAC shutdown of the old facility, combined with the completion of construction on the new building, necessitated an abbreviated turnaround time between closure and start-up. The last day of operation for child care at Selfridge was October 10th, and the new CDC was scheduled to open for business on October 20th. With weekends and the Columbus Day holiday falling in between those dates, the CYSS staff had less than a week to get the new facility up and running for business.
The magnitude of the challenge can best be illustrated by an overview of some of the work that was done over the course of those few days.
On Tuesday, Nancy Mitchell, CYSS Coordinator, and her team oversaw the delivery, assembly, and setup of all of the furniture and fixtures. Wednesday and Thursday were filled with moving and unpacking hundreds of boxes of toys, games, sports equipment, and art supplies. The staff did whatever they thought necessary to get the job done. Finally, on Friday the parents, whose children were coming to the new facility, were taken on an orientation tour of the new building.
The opening of any new facility requires the coming together of many people from different areas of expertise, and it was no different in this case. A number of Garrison departments, including the Department of Public Works (DPW), Safety Office, Department of Emergency Services (DES), Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR), CYSS, all contributed during the final days of readying the CDC for opening on October 20th.
"The endless hours of work by the CYSS staff, and the collaborative efforts of several Garrison departments during that last week made it possible for us to open up on time. There were moments when I didn't think we were going to make it. Thanks to a lot of people pitching in, like the DPW overseeing the final building inspection which certified the building ready for occupancy, and the fire department training the staff on evacuation procedures, we made it," Mitchell said.
Staff members and parents also singled out Art Young, DES Director, and his crew for going out of their way to assist them in getting badges and car decals which enable quick access to the Detroit Arsenal.
The next time you're thinking about moving, instead of calling "Two Men and a Truck", you may want to consider hiring the CYSS staff. On second thought, they've done enough moving to last them for quite some time, thank you. As Mitchell stated, "we don't even want to think about moving for a long, long time."
Hats off to the CYSS for a job well done!