I-TEAM Exclusive: Senator Ossoff discusses multimillion-dollar child care facility

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:17 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:39 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Our I-TEAM has exclusive details about millions of dollars coming to Fort Gordon to help our men and women in uniform and their families.

Senator Jon Ossoff is in Washington D.C. but sat down with our Meredith Anderson via Zoom to deliver details you will only see on News 12.

Ossoff says $26 million is heading to Fort Gordon to help expand child care.

Department of Defense data shows more than 11,000 children are waiting for it at military installations across the country and experts say this is something we all need to worry about.

A soldier’s service is often his or her family’s sacrifice. Ossoff wants to help lighten the load.

“Childcare is a basic need and one that needs to be more fully met,” he said.

The Department of Defense takes it a step further calling child care a “readiness and retention issue,” meaning parents who have trouble finding it could be distracted from duty or maybe leave the military over it.

“Whenever I visit installations across Georgia, I try to sit down with those junior enlisted personnel, those young military families who are making such sacrifices to defend our country and often don’t have access to the child care facilities that they need,” he said.

That’s why Ossoff says he worked to secure $26 million in funding for a new child development center at Fort Gordon. Plans aren’t ready just yet, but the I-TEAM has learned it will serve 126 children between the ages of six weeks and five years. Ossoff says some money will also go to planning future construction so the center can expand even more.

Ossoff: “Meredith, I really want to emphasize this because I think it’s an important point. As divided as things seem, in congress, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to get this done for military families at Fort Gordon.”

At the end of the day, he says making sure our men and women in uniform and their families remain a top priority is something lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree on. No word on when crews expect to break ground or even when the new center will open, but we will let you know when it does.

As for who will handle the construction, it won’t be Balfour Beatty. That’s important to note because that’s the private company at the center of a decade-long I-TEAM investigation into housing problems and then Ossoff’s own investigation and Senate hearing. He assured us they have no part in the child development center.