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Barksdale CDC East to begin renovation

  • Published
  • By Airman Rhea Beil
  • 2BW/PA

The East Child Development Center will begin construction and limited operations Sept. 19.

The East CDC was built in 1972 and is one of the oldest in the Air Force. Since the building is more than 50 years old, it is due for maintenance renovations to secure the safety and wellness of children and staff.

The year-long construction project will address indoor safety hazards while updating outdated equipment. Some of the renovations include sewer line repairs, installing new flooring, a new roof, a new paint job and an updated heat, ventilation and air conditioning system.

While the childcare center is under construction, some of the children who attend the East location may be relocated to the West CDC or the youth center, which has been adapted to accommodate more children.

The staff has been adjusting enrollment and finding alternate spaces for childcare to make sure that Barksdale families don’t lose their slots in childcare. The youth center has been adapted with temporary classrooms inside the gym to accommodate the children who are currently enrolled in the East CDC.

During this time, East CDC registration won’t be available so new enrollment applicants will be placed on a waitlist until the construction project is complete.

“We’re still able to provide quality child care in a safe environment, and that's what is important,” said Tabitha Rabinowitz, the 2nd Force Support Squadron director. “However, the housekeeping that needs to be addressed and fixed is also important.”

The East CDC staff said that they are committed to providing quality care and maintaining the structure, curriculum and meals at every location.

“During the renovation process, the same level of care, the same curriculum development, the same meals, out of everything that is changing, there’s not a change in the services we provide for the children,” said Ruth Radloff, the 2nd Force Support Squadron Chief.

Barksdale families who need childcare are encouraged to enroll in the DoD family child care program which has eight operational home daycares and eight undergoing the licensing process.

Families interested in off-base child care should contact the community childcare coordinator at Barksdale, Charlotte Lewis, for information about the local state-licensed child care centers. Lewis said she works directly with families and providers to determine childcare needs and placement and she can be contacted at (318) 456-9689.

Incoming families requiring child care can email 2FSSS.Barksdale.ChildCare@us.af.mil for more information and assistance.

Questions and Answers:

Why is the CDC being remodeled?
CDC East is being renovated to allow the facility to continue providing quality child care. CDC East opened in 1972 and is one of the oldest in the AF inventory and has exceeded its functional lifespan which is normally 50 years. While some renovations are cosmetic, most address indoor safety hazards for young children, such as splinters, tripping hazards, and chipping/peeling paint.

How long has this project been in the works?
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center visited Barksdale AFB in Fall ‘22 to review the
requirements for the project. The project was awarded in June ‘23 and the start date is not yet confirmed but estimated to begin Sep/Oct ‘23.

What does the project entail?
The renovation is expected to include roof replacement, HVAC update, sewer line repair, and interior finishes. The intent is to extend the life of the facility and prevent safety hazards, mold build-up, sewer issues, and to ensure the HVAC remains functional. Ultimately, this update will improve the quality of life of the children and our staff.

How long is the project expected to take?
The estimated time for the project to reach completion in approximately one year. During this time, there will be changes to CDC East entrance and there is a potential for traffic delays due to reduced parking. There is a plan currently being developed to help alleviate congestion that will be shared by Public Affairs and 2FSS once finalized.

What will happen to the kids who are currently in CDC East?
Some children will remain in CDC East, while others may be moved to CDC West. Preschool classrooms are projected to be located at the Youth Center pending higher headquarters approval. We will do our best to not relocate classrooms again until the project is fully completed. The relocation of the preschool classrooms are subject to Fire, Safety, or Health and Sanitation facility modifications required for the younger age group. An AF-approved waiver is required, where modifications are not feasible.

Will this change impact care or billing for currently enrolled children?
No, this project will not impact care or billing. There are no changes to classroom staff, (other than normal movement), menu and/or feeding schedules, operating hours, curriculum or any other programming.

Why is BAFB putting a pause on CDC enrollment if construction is only being done on one CDC?
A temporary pause was placed on enrollment due to the projected reduced capacity during the project and the necessity to utilize space within the alternate CDC. The pause was implemented FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY (PA & FSS) to avoid having to terminate care for children after enrollment. Once we know the extent of the classrooms impacted, new enrollments may resume for any available vacant spaces.

How long will CDC enrollments be paused?
There is no definitive timeline for the enrollment pause as we are awaiting confirmation on the project timeline and determination of affected spaces. 2BW/PA and 2FSS will continue to provide updates on the project and communicate when CDC enrollment is expected to reopen.

How will this impact current and incoming families with child care needs?
We are working diligently to increase the number of Family Child Care homes with eight new homes in various stages of receiving their license. Additionally, the Community Child Care Coordinator, Charlotte Lewis, has an extensive network of off-base state-licensed child care centers. She works directly with providers depending on the family’s needs and communicates availability and information to the family.

For families who are expecting or PCSing to Barksdale, how should they go about securing child care?
Families seeking on-base care must create a household profile on militarychildcare.com to request care—this is DoD-wide. When they create their profile, they select the options they are interested in, such as School Age Care, Child Development Center, and/or Family Child Care. They can also email 2FSS.Barksdale.ChildCare@us.af.mil for assistance. This box is monitored by the Family Child Care Coordinator and the Community Child Care Coordinator.

How will families be notified?
Information for currently enrolled families is pushed out through CYPBMS (the Child and Youth Programs Business Management System). The initial notice will be sent out once finalized. For families on the waitlist, information on the project and alternative options is going to be posted on our www.Barksdalelife.com program profile page.

Where can people go to find information on this?
Updates on the CDC project will be posted to www.barksdalelife.com.

Who should people contact if they have questions about child care and/or the construction project?
Airmen who have questions about child care that cannot be addressed by emailing 2FSS.Barksdale.ChildCare@us.af.mil can contact Ms. Ruth Radloff, ruth.radloff@us.af.mil, DSN 781-3608, Commercial 318-456-3608 or Cell 318-210-8221 for further assistance.