After being closed for three days due to issues with mice, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Cody Child Development Center reopened Monday morning with JBM-HH Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples and JBM-HH Deputy Commander Marine Lt. Col. Mark Paolicelli in attendance to welcome parents and children to the center.
On Friday Peeples met with the CDC staff to provide an update on the work that was done to clear and clean the center. She told the staff that command and the Directorate of Public Works was pulling out all stops to eradicate the problem. She said the contractor had done a phenomenal job of cleaning the kitchen and making sure it passed all inspections.
"No poison (was put out) and (the cleaning was done) within child care regulation," said Peeples. "The pest management will continue. If you see something write it down."
Paolicelli pointed out that clean-up efforts began the evening of June 12 when Peeples made the decision to close the CDC.
"The team from DPW and the CDC worked around the clock for six days getting this place ready," said Paolicelli. "The contracted cleaners came in (June 14 and conducted) a top to bottom 100 percent clean."
He added that the staff worked Saturday and Sunday to ensure the rooms inside of the CDC were put together for the arrival of children Monday morning.
"Ms. Battle singlehandedly did (over) 120 loads of laundry," he said. "Other people came in and helped each other out with their rooms. It was an incredible effort. It was unfortunate this happened (but) the teamwork … to see people come together to get this place up and running was impressive."
Although the center had to close last week, the deputy said the issues have been mitigated and the center is safe for children. He believes the increased rain and minor wear and tear were the cause of the mice being in the building. He added that one of the ways DPW fixed the issue was by plugging up the holes.
"It was a bunch of small things and all of those small things added up," Paolicelli explained. "DPW went in (and put) seals on the door, which was nobody's fault. (The seals) just wore off over time. All those small things kind of contributed to a potential entryway for mice. We are confident there is nothing that can penetrate the building. We now have the problem contained."
One of the ways the problem has been contained is by adding more than 1,000 traps to the already more than 100 that were already present in the ceilings of the CDC. Paolicelli also said that keeping the building clean, orderly, and free of clutter will ensure the mice don't return. DPW will continue checking traps to make sure there is no spike in activity.
Paolicelli also wanted to make sure parents aren't worried about their children attending the CDC.
"I can personally assure we have seen the staff work nonstop for the past week to get this going … we treat this as if our own child is here," he said. "This is a priority for us and it's important to us. It's the commander's priority, all of our priority to make sure Families know when they leave their child in our hands their child is going to be safe and taken care of in a safe, healthy, and clean environment."
The deputy pointed out that getting the center prepared to open was done by a team effort that included Forts Meade and Belvoir and their environmental staff, Rader Health Clinic, and agencies and organizations from around the National Capital Region.
Paolicelli was also appreciative of the patience parents displayed while the center was closed.
"(We) made a concerted effort to be completely transparent with our staff and parents," Paolicelli said. "We know the inconvenience it caused (and) we opened up as quickly as we could."
Pentagram Editor Catrina Francis and be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.