(FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas) --A ribbon cutting ceremony held Oct. 7 officially opened the Child, Youth and School Services Teen Center at Fort Sam Houston.

The ceremony began with the National Anthem followed by an invocation delivered by Col.Karl Kuckhahn, installation chaplain.

Col. Mary Garr, commander, U.S. Army Garrison; Paul Matthews, director, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Brenda Berry, director, Child,Youth and School Services; Vincent Allen, director, Teen Center; Kevin Parikh, Lakeshore Engineering Services; Sgt. Seth Sutherland, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG; Joseph Kauffman, representing the high school; and Angelica Stewart, representing the middle school, assisted in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

"In today's environment we have something called the Army Family Covenant and it is not just words. We recruit Soldiers but we retain Families and the only way to do that is to ensure that they have that quality of life commensurate with the service that our members are providing every single day," Garr said.

"We are collectively enhancing the needs of our kids and with the growth we have coming into Fort Sam Houston, this is one more step in that direction," Garr said.

"The future is bright, because leadership is committed to improving programs, services and facilities and I have little doubt that Fort Sam will be the showcase for the rest of the Army. It is a great place for our youth to grow, mature, and develop life skills that will serve them better in the years ahead," said Matthews.

The 20,668 square-foot center is one of the first Base Realignment and Closure facilities to be built for the Department of the Army Child and Youth Services Division. The 60-capacity modular building will provide age-appropriate programming for grades six through 12.

Designed with input from youth, the center features game systems including the Wii, Play Station 2, Nintendo DS, Dance Revolution and X-box, music, board games, art supplies and plenty of sports including a ping pong table, outdoor pool table, and a rock climbing wall.

Dodge balls, tennis balls and scooters are available for use; plus computers in the computer technology lab, an area for culinary arts, activity rooms, and a multipurpose room with adjustable basketball goals.