This is a big year for Redstone’s child development centers.

That’s because both centers should be open by the end of 2016.

Child, Youth and School Services facilities include the Youth Center, the School Age Center and the Mills Road Child Development Center. The Goss Road CDC, more than 30 years old, has been closed since February for interior renovations and some exterior changes to the playground.

The Mills Road center was closed more than a year to fix design flaws. But the facility, which originally opened in October 2010, reopened in February. Both facilities will hopefully be open by late fall, according to CYSS Director Andre Terry.

“And the good news is once we have both CDCs renovated or constructed, we’ll have a lot more (child care) spaces and we’ll be able to pull a lot off that waiting list,” he said.

Terry emphasizes the importance of parents keeping their children on the waiting list so they’ll be in the system when the spaces reopen. The Goss Road center alone will open 165 spaces.

Children of military, government civilian and contractors are welcome to sign up for child care. Retirees who have power-of-attorney over their children, or grandchildren, are also eligible. To sign up, visit Parent Central Services, in the Pershing Welcome Center building 3443 on Aerobee Road during Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number is 876-3704.

“Their children are in a gated community,” Terry said of the advantages of using child care on post. “Secondly, we’re one of the few accredited programs in North Alabama. We go through multiple inspections annually to include higher headquarters unannounced inspections. Our programs are accredited and DOD certified. The majority of our care givers have their Child Development Association credential. We have extensive background checks – state and national. And our fees, even with all of that, tend to be anywhere from 17-30 percent lower than our counterparts off post.”

He said the advantages of these quality programs outweigh the inconvenience to parents for keeping their child on the waiting list.

Another potential benefit is under consideration. “One thing I’m looking into is offering state Pre-K,” Terry said. Child care centers at Army posts in Georgia – including Forts Stewart, Gordon and Benning – currently offer their state’s Pre-K programs in their facilities.

“Things are looking bright that we’ll be able to offer that when we reopen the Goss facility,” Terry said.

He anticipates hiring from 25-30 care givers sometime this summer in preparation of the Goss Road center’s return. The facility should have brighter rooms, more open space and new furniture. The multipurpose building at the Goss Road site is still in use for the Strong Beginnings program for 5-year-olds. All the other children have moved to the Mills Road center.

The Mills Road center on March 23 had 169 children ranging from age 6 weeks to 5 years. The capacity is 175.

“Things are going wonderful,” Facility Director Linda Smith said. “Our first day of opening was 22nd of February and it was a smooth transition. All the children seem to be happy. And the parents seem to be happy and enjoying it.”

Smith became the director in October. She formerly served as the Goss Road center’s assistant director since arriving in August 2009 from Vicenza, Italy.

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