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Demolition effort continues

The Pine Bluff Arsenal completed the first round Saturday in the demolition of the Chemical Agent Disposal Facility's pollution abatement system. The effort is a part of the closure procedures after completion of the final stockpiled chemical weapons disposal operations in November 2010. Mark Greer, site project manager, said the first phase of the demolition involved the afterburner, scrubbers and pump and the outside stack. The disposal facility has been decontaminated and agent-processing equipment dismantled to prepare for the full-scale demolition through January or February. Closure operations will continue for approximately six months. A subcontractor with experience in explosives was hired to bring down the pollution abatement under the direction of facility's systems contractor, URS Corp. Chemical weapons disposal operations began at the arsenal in March 2005. The fourth and final disposal campaign was completed 23 months ago.

PBA to conduct investigational study

Army officials at Pine Bluff Arsenal announced that they will begin an investigational study of some remote areas of the installation. This project is part of an ongoing restoration effort by the U.S. Army and the Arsenal to address potential safety, health and environmental issues. These areas, which were used during the 1940s, may contain discarded munitions and other warfare materials.

New child care facility opens

Pine Bluff Arsenal (PBA) celebrated last week with the grand opening of the new $4.2 million Child Development Center Annex. The facility, a part of the Child, Youth and School (CYS) Services program, is set to meet the needs of 60 additional children in the early childhood program. "The completion of this project confirms what we already knew," said Arsenal Commander Col. Franz J. Amann. "The [U.S.] Army has the best child care in the world." Melissa Brodnax, Director Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said she is thrilled about the opening of the annex, because "we had families waiting over a year for care just to get into our current program. This new facility will help meet that demand for quality child care so that our workforce can continue its work in supporting the war-fighter." The new facility is a welcomed addition to a program that has seen two generations of children since its outset in 1987. PBA began its meager passage into the child care arena with only two in-home child-care givers and five children. Debbie Johnson, Coordinator CYS Services, introduced several staff members and commented, "All of you are why CYS succeeds." She then stressed the importance of those who assist in the program and the families involved. "Yes , it takes a village to raise a child," she said. "And we have our village here."