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Ground broken for new School Age CDC

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By CATRINA FRANCIS
Turret Senior Staff Writer
catrina.francis@us.army.mil
Friday marked the beginning of another era on Fort Knox with the groundbreaking for the $7.4 million state-of-the-art School Age Child Development Center behind Bldg. 4249.
Rayceil Oggs, the Fort Knox chief of Child and Youth School Services, said the current facility, which before the early ‘90s served as an elementary school, is old and outdated.
“The staff does a great job making it doable, but (it) needs an upgrade,” said Oggs. “We have outgrown the facility.
“The new facility will have all of the children in one facility. (The new building) is something Families and Soldiers really deserve.”
The new building will serve up to 210 children; and feature three spacious atria for child drop-off and pick-up, an arts and science room which School Age Services will share with SKIES Unlimited, and multiple game and activity rooms.
“With the influx of Soldiers and Families, this construction could not come too soon,” said Col. Eric Schwartz, the Fort Knox garrison commander. “Currently our SAS program is growing by leaps and bounds and CYSS is providing after school child care in two locations. And that’s a bit dysfunctional.”
Sandy Hinerman, the director of SAS, said that for the last eight years CYSS has asked the Army for the funds to build a new facility.
“Back in 2004 we thought we were going to get a new (facility) but there wasn’t any funding,” said Hinerman.
Prior to moving to the old Stevens Elementary School building, SAS was housed in Devers Teen and Youth Center. Having small children and teens in the same building presented problems. The smaller children had to be contained in one area and Oggs said that prevented them from having free-flowing activities.
“Stevens doesn’t have real visibility,” she said. “One of the other positive things (in the new building) is children will have a lot of restrooms.”
Having more room allows SAS to combine programs and feature a playground and space large enough for soccer.
Although SAS has been using the current space for clubs, Hinerman said the new building will have a kitchen which will be used by the cooking club. The club now uses a classroom which has limited resources for teaching children how to properly prepare meals.
Oggs pointed out the new building will be an asset to parents who have children in more than one CYSS program.
“We often have parents who drop off (children) at the CDC and SAS,” explained Oggs. “(The new location) should be more convenient.”
She added that the $7.4 million isn’t being paid by the installation because the construction is mandated by Congress.
“The Department of the Army is going to pay for internal furnishing, the playground equipment, computers, and kitchen,” Oggs said. “(The construction)
is at no cost to Fort Knox.”
Although funding wasn’t available in the past, Oggs said the current and past garrison commanders lobbied the Army to ensure funding for a new building.
“This has truly been a team effort to get us to this point,” explained Schwartz. “We are very excited as we envision this new school-aged service center.
“All we want to do is provide the best opportunities for our Soldiers and Families, and through the efforts of this Army Family Covenant I think you’re going to see that demonstrated
today.”