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    Fort Wainwright opens largest child development center in Army

    Fort Wainwright opens largest child development center in Army

    Photo By Eve Baker | Brightly colored artwork by Alaskan artists hangs in the hallways of the new Denegee...... read more read more

    ALASKA, UNITED STATES

    06.05.2024

    Story by Eve Baker 

    Fort Wainwright Public Affairs Office

    FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – US Army Garrison Alaska is now home to the largest child development center in the Army, and leaders marked the occasion Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the brand-new facility.

    Col. Jeffey Palazzini, commander of the Alaska District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke during the ceremony.

    “We’re so excited to have been part of this modern, innovative facility that will allow for high quality childcare for the Fort Wainwright community,” Palazzini said.

    The $35M center, named the Denegee Child Development Center, after the Tanana Alaska Native word for “moose,” is 42,930 sq. ft. and has a current operational capacity for 284 children. The facility includes a 4,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose playroom, 12 rooms for infants and toddlers, nine rooms for preschool children, four general activity rooms, a kitchen, laundry, reception area, nursing room, and staff lounge.

    Each childcare room is furnished in bright colors, with durable child-sized furniture and bathroom fixtures and is connected to an age-appropriate fenced outdoor play area. Vibrant artwork by Alaskan artists can be found throughout the center.

    Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Director Rick Bosch spoke about the contributions of the Child and Youth Services staff to the new facility and daily operations.

    “I would like to thank our CYS team for putting their passion, their hearts, and their souls into making this what will be one of the best CDCs in the Army and especially our frontline staff, our CYPAs [Child and Youth Program Assistant; the teachers in the classrooms] who make the magic happen with the kids every day,” Bosch said. “We are so happy to provide them an incredible place to work with the youth in our community.”

    Bosch went on to acknowledge the help of Headquarters Installation Management Command G9 CYS Chief Suzanne King and IMCOM-Pacific G9 Chief Kimberly Straube and thank the many individuals who contributed to and supported the unique facility design, including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Dan Sullivan.

    Accommodations for the long, intensely cold winter season experienced in central Alaska were incorporated into the building’s design. Radiant floor heating is present in all areas occupied by children, given that children tend to spend a significant amount of time playing and sitting on the floor. All exterior doorways are “arctic entries,” which consist of an outer door that opens into a small vestibule leading to an interior door that opens into the room or building. This system reduces heat loss and prevents occupants from experiencing a blast of icy air every time the door to the outside is opened.

    The multi-purpose playroom, which resembles a school gymnasium, is another accommodation for the weather that will also benefit the children and staff year-round. It provides a large, warm space to run around in on sub-zero days in the winter and rainy days. During the summer, when air quality can be adversely affected at times by wildfire smoke, the state-of-the-art HVAC system in the facility will provide clean, cool air for the children to play in.

    Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, the commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division, extolled the benefits of that space in remarks during the outdoor ceremony, which was held under a sunny sky with the temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

    “It’s hard to remember what it was like here just a few months ago with the weather we’re having today, but I assure you that indoor gym is going to get some use,” he said. Eifler was referring to a multi-week cold spell experienced by the garrison in January and February this year where the temperature did not rise above zero degrees and dipped as low as -53.

    The CDC project was awarded in November 2021, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in the spring of 2022. The exterior framing and roof were completed during summer and fall 2022, allowing the construction company to continue work throughout the winter.

    Now that the facility is complete, all staff and children from the two older and smaller CDCs on post, in addition to newly enrolled children from a long waiting list, will move to the Denegee CDC on June 10. At that point, the other facilities will close for extensive renovation, with one expected to reopen in 18 months as a CDC and the other to be converted for Child and Youth Services offices.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.05.2024
    Date Posted: 06.05.2024 18:09
    Story ID: 473167
    Location: ALASKA, US

    Web Views: 42
    Downloads: 0

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