FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Once again the Army Family Covenant's focus to provide more and better services to families is making a significant difference on Fort Lewis.

Army spouses of deployed Soldiers will soon have an hourly child care facility available when they go to medical appointments.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Warrior Transition Battalion Child Development Center, located across from Madigan Army Medical Center's drive-through pharmacy, was held May 27.

Teachers Aida Gervacio and Valerie Brown, Madigan Child Development Center, escorted six preschool and kindergarten children from Module 9 to the groundbreaking site to participate.

After presenting a "digging" song, the children helped break ground with gold-painted shovels.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to support our families and all the kids on post," said Col. Cynthia A. Murphy, garrison commander.

It's especially nice to have the facility located so close to the hospital, she said.

Brigadier Gen. Sheila Baxter, commanding general, Madigan Army Medical Center and Western Region Medical Command, said for many years spouses have needed a facility while they were at MAMC appointments, where they could drop children off.

"This is a great day," Baxter said. "This has been one of our dreams, and everyone has been working together to make this happen."

Thanks to that team effort, parents will soon be able to go to their appointments at the hospital and not have to worry where their kids are, she said.

According to Bill Harvey, director, Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, the new facility is expected to be completed by November.

"This will be a permanent modular facility," said Lee Harms, project manager, Murillo Modular Group which was awarded the construction contract. The facility will consist of seven modular units, totaling of 6,000 square feet, he said.

Although overnight child care services will not be available at the new WTB CDC, that kind of service is already available at some of the licensed family child care homes on post, said Barbara Sporcic, division chief, Child and Youth Services.

"If spouses of deployed Soldiers have to stay overnight at the hospital, they should contact Family Child Care (967-7364) and explain their situation," Sporcic said. "We have some great family child care providers, and we will do our best to find the kind of child care they need."

Barbara L. Sellers is a reporter won Fort Lewis' Northwest Guardian.