By Nancy Gould, Hunter Public AffairsJune 23, 2011
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - Child, Youth and School Services demonstrated its support of the Army Family Covenant on June 13 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new $5 million child development center at Hunter Army Airfield's Haley Avenue location. It’s the third CDC facility built on Hunter Army Airfield for children, age six-weeks to five years old. A second CDC, located on Perimeter Road, was completed last March; the oldest center, which is still fully operational, is located just off Middle Ground Road.
Major General Robert Abrams, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, told the crowd gathered for the ceremony about the importance of the new 15,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art center used to care for military children.
“I grew up in Army child development centers,” Maj. Gen. Abrams said, regarding his Army-Family status and the excellent care that highly trained and devoted CDC staffs gave him during his pre-school years.
“These children are precious cargo; the staff members who give them care do God’s work.”
Specialist Eugenio Esteban, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, is also impressed with the quality care given to his 2-year-old son in Hunter’s highly equipped centers. He participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony with his wife, Amanda, and their 2-year-old son, who was the Haley Avenue center’s first enrollee.
“He’s already learned a lot,” said Amanda. “He’s also getting important socialization skills.”
After the ceremony, Davona Fallin, facility director, gave a personal tour of the center’s interior rooms and the three playgrounds located outside.
“The playgrounds are age appropriate for infants, pre-schoolers and toddlers,” she said. "The building features eight classrooms, which will be designated for specific age groups. “As the enrollment grows, we will adjust to whatever the needs are.”
One of those rooms is designated to the center’s hourly program a popular option for parents who need occasional care for their children. The building also features a large multi-purpose room, a kitchen, a large room for lunch and snacks, and a laundry room.
Only 25 children were enrolled at the time of the ceremony; however, Fallin said she fully expected enrollment to reach 144 over the next few months.
“Our staff is trained and ready for kids,” she said. “Our goal is to provide quality childcare to the children of our Soldiers and help to reduce their day-to-day stress and worry about their children, especially while deployed.”
“We’re here to support Soldiers and their Families,” said Maj. Gen. Abrams. “You never know, one of these children could grow up to be a senior commander one day.”