Many newer Dugway residents have been surprised at how quickly the base's new $3.9 million Child Development/Community Center has started going up, but those who've worked on the project have thought, "If only that were true."

Vera Zaccardi, chief of the Family Support Division, said base officials have been struggling to secure funding for the facility for five years.The original request in fiscal 1984 was for two separate buildings, but the Department of Army said no to single-use facilities.

So the Dugway planners put the two centers together and filled out a new mountain of paperwork.

Then the Army Materiel Command in Alexandria, Va., decided it didn't want the two combined. So it was back to separate facilities.

Next, the Army put a moratorium on construction of new child-development centers while it explored the idea of contracting out child-care services. But a pilot center at Fort Lewis, Wash., soon showed that a contractor couldn't meet all the government standards and provide care at affordable prices.

In fiscal 1987, the combined-centers proposal went to Congress with the emphasis on the community-development center, because lawmakers seemed to like multipurpose centers that year, Zaccardi said. But it was no use. The House of Representatives dropped the project from the budget.

Rep. James V. Hansen and Sen. Jake Garn, both R-Utah, went to work, and the project was returned to the budget by the Senate but dropped again by the House. By this time, the trend in Congress was to approve child-development centers but not community centers.

In fiscal 1988, the Corps of Engineers got the name changed back to Child Development/Community Center and it worked - Congress finally funded the project, Zaccardi said.

Located in the grassy area between the theater, the exchange and the chapel, the center will have room for 145 children, an increase of 54 over the present center's capacity. The current center will be remodeled into office space.

Construction of the masonry building will be completed by Feb. 8, 1990, and, following inspections, Dugway officials hope the building can be occupied sometime next spring.