Fort Closes Building Used For Child Care

Base Moves Center Out Of 'Worn Out' Structure

August 26, 1991|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

Fort Meade has closed one of two child development centers on base because it did not meet Defense Department requirements, but officialssay the disruption will not leave additional children without care.

A base spokesman said there are still 500 children on a waiting list for child care -- the same number as before the facility closed --but some will be housed in a temporary facility that could be in place by next year.

The old building, at 13th and Chamberlin streets, had been used as a child-care center for 25 years. It was originally built as a clubhouse.

"This building had done a good job in its day," spokesman Don McClow said. "It's just a worn-out building."

McClow said the building was ordered closed by garrison commander Col. Kent D. Menser because it lacked the required number of exits.

McClow said the Department of Defense had granted waivers for the building for a numberof years, anticipating that two centers for about 600 children wouldbe built. However, a construction moratorium delayed the projects.

"We realize closing the facility and shifting children to differentlocations may create some hardship for our families," Martha McClary, coordinator for Child Development Services, said in a statement.

"But the safety of the children must come first.

The constructionmoratorium ends this month, but completion of the new centers is notexpected until 1994.

Starting Sept. 3, all daily, hourly and part-day preschool services will be consolidated at the six-building complex on Ernie Pyle Street.

Children in the school-age program will be relocated to the Youth Services building at Ernie Pyle Street and Reece Road.

The child development center on Ernie Pyle Street has a capacity of 357, but has been operating at a reduced level of 219 so that children from the closed center can be accommodated without displacing anyone, McClow said.

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