Fort McCoy News October 10, 2014

New School Age/Youth Center nears completion

Public Affairs Staff

Work on the new 18,000-square-foot School Age Center/Youth Center (SAC/YC) is nearly complete, and by late fall, youth programs on Fort McCoy will have more space available than ever before.

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An exterior view of the new, 18,000-square-foot Fort McCoy School Age Center/Youth Center, building 1792.

"This new building is going to be a huge improvement for our programs," said Child, Youth and School Services Coordinator Jan Fink of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "Everything is better and bigger in this new building compared to what we've had in the past."

The new building has amenities currently not available, Fink said, such as customized rooms to support youth in grades kindergarten through 12.

Also included are activity rooms, a demonstration kitchen, a teen room, a playground, a computer technology lab, a homework center, an arts-and-crafts room and a multipurpose room equipped with basketball hoops and other sports equipment.

"Having the multipurpose room is a great addition," Fink said. "The new center being located next to the Child Development Center (CDC) means the children from the CDC also will be able to use the multipurpose room and other parts of the center as well."

The new SAC/YC, built at a cost of more than $7 million with money from Army Family Covenant funds, is the first new Fort McCoy facility constructed for the SAC/YC.

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A multipurpose room, which can also serve as a gymnasium, will allow for more youth activities during winter months.

"Our current program operates in a set of buildings that are World War II-era structures," Fink said. "The current School Age/Youth Center was renovated a number of years ago, but this new building is a vast improvement."

SAC/YC Director Cori Yahnke said the center's staff looks forward to the opening of the new facility.

"The new SAC/YC will open even more opportunities for Fort McCoy youth and Families," she said. "It will be great to expand our programs and have more things available for all who use our facilities. With the addition of the multipurpose room, we'll also be able to do more in the winter and during inclement weather."

Fink agreed. "When the new center opens, we will be able to offer a deeper program with more options," she said.

The SKIESUnlimited program also will have greater opportunities as well. SKIESUnlimited is an acronym for "School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills" with the word "Unlimited" representing the unlimited possibilities the program can offer Army children and youth.

"We will have two classrooms in the new center specifically for the SKIESUnlimited program," Fink said.

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The center features a large kitchen area with new, state-of-the-art appliances and serving areas.

"That gives the program a home where it can grow and further support our youth."

Yahnke said the new center's demonstration kitchen will expand an already robust cooking club program.

"This will definitely be good for all the cooking classes we hold," Yahnke said. "It's a program that nearly all the children love to participate in, so we are looking forward to having that available, as well."

There also will be a "center within a center," Yahnke said, as teens who attend the SAC/YC will have their own rooms and space.

"This will be the first time teens will have their own space away from all the other children," Yahnke said. "We'll be able to offer them a lot more options, and teens love options."

The SAC/YC offers a full program for youth in grades kindergarten through 12. The center is affiliated as a 4-H Club and with the Boys & Girls Club of America.

The new SAC/YC was constructed by the Atlantic Marine Corporation Inc. Modules with many of the electrical and plumbing items built in were assembled in an Indiana factory and were placed at the site. The facility now has the new designation as building 1792.

For more information on youth programs at Fort McCoy, call the SAC/YC at 608-388-4373.