Cannon expanding child development centers

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

Cannon Air Force Base is expecting a lot of families, and it’s expecting a lot of kids in tow.

Base officials are hoping a pair of construction projects will provide enough to house more than 300 children between two facilities.

Currently, the two centers, the Chavez Child Development Center and the on-base CDC, have 130 child care spaces for children from six weeks to five years old, according to Denise Vanderwarker, 27th Special Operations Force Support Squadron, Airmen and Family Services Flight Chief.

The two centers will be built during the next 18 months. The projects are being paid for with $12 million coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Work has not yet begun on either, according to Cannon’s public affairs office.

“The add/alter project of the Chavez CDC is projected to be completed by November 2010,” said Mike Poston, a deputy base civil engineer for the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron. “The new on base CDC is projected to be completed by summer 2011.

“These projects are essential to providing our airmen and their families with quality facilities that bolster quality of life.”

The on base CDC was built in 1976, and the Chavez center was built in 1994.

“The new center will follow the standard Air Force design for child development centers,” Vanderwanker said. Those standards include, “an efficient commercial kitchen, training room, natural outdoor classroom play environments, a parent resource center and well designed classrooms with sufficient storage and built in diapering and toileting facilities, and private areas for nursing moms.”

Besides the ability to house more children, Vanderwanker said more care spaces will be available for children younger than age 2.