Photo: A ribbon cutting ceremony including Premier Gordon Campbell and Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm occurred last Wednesday at the newly renovated CDC before the Centre’s official opening./Adam Reaburn

The newly expanded Child Development Centre will have its official public opening on Friday.

The Centre spent approximately two years renovating the Fort St. John office to provide continuing services for children.

‘Project Build-A-Fort’ includes a 10,000 square foot increase in space, the Rotary Play Centre, a gymnasium, wheelchair accessible kitchen, and has increased the number of classroom spaces for early childhood education.

Executive Director Penny Gagnon says the increase in physical space allows them to accommodate 32 more children, raising its total number of pre-school spaces to 160.

The Rotary Play Centre was opened at the end of September after the CDC announced that it had received a $100,000 donation from the Fort St. John Rotary Club.

Gagnon says the Centre fundraised a total of $1.6 million from corporate sponsorships, various events and personal donations.

CDC officials says around 700 children use the Centre’s services each year but there are approximately 150 children who still have to wait for certain programs or services.

At the end of the 2010 Energy Conference last week, City Councillor Lori Ackerman said that the CDC had been chosen as the recipient of the Legacy Project funding from the Conference. However, she added that the total amount to be given to the Centre may not be known for a couple of months.

The grand opening will take place between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. at the CDC.