By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The opening of the new Child Development Center annex at Peterson East means families spend less time on the waiting list and care will be provided to more children.
According to Karen Morgan, CDC training and curriculum specialist, the new $11.3 million CDC facility replaces the CDC building that was located across the street from the R. P. Lee Youth Center. The former annex provided care to 96 children. The twelve rooms in the new CDC can accommodate 192 children and is expected to reach capacity this fall. The main CDC on Paine Street will continue to provide care to 268 children.
“We had an excessive amount of children waiting to use our services. With the old facility, we were unable to accommodate them,” Morgan said. “We were blessed and given funds in order to build a CDC that will meet the needs of our community.”
The new facility makes the Peterson AFB childcare community the largest in Air Force Space Command. The CDC provides care for children ages six weeks to five years old.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, held May 31, Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander, said the construction of the new CDC supports the Iron Triangle, a three-sided approach to childcare.
The first side of the Iron Triangle is accessibility. “The new facility will reduce the average waiting list time by 60 days and (reduce) the waiting list by 75 percent,” Crawford said.
The second side is affordability. Crawford said because the CDC uses a sliding payment scale based on total family income, it is affordable even for an airman basic.
The final side is quality. The classrooms in the new facility are larger and decorated in more neutral colors to resemble a home environment. Education at the new facility will also place an emphasis on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. Crawford said it’s important these areas are covered because they are areas where children in the United States have shown to be falling behind.
According to Dorothy Choate, Airman and Family Services flight chief, the new building follows a new Air Force standard for how CDCs are to be built. This first allows expansion of the CDC should the community need increase.
“The other reason we have a standardized design is to protect the health and safety of our children,” Choate said.
The standardized design ensures all CDC buildings meet fire, safety and health requirements.
In addition to increasing the number of children in the facility, the CDC will employ nine additional appropriated fund government civilians and 20 nonappropriated fund civilians to teach in the classrooms.