DOD funding military construction projects, Knox building Warrior Transition Complex
August 27, 2010
- The Warrior Transition Battalion will receive new quarters
- Complex to be built closer to hospital
FORT KNOX, Ky. - According to the Warrior Transition Command, the Army continues to work with the Department of Defense leadership and Congress to fund military construction projects.
Part of that funding includes the development of Warrior Transition complexes that will serve Soldiers in transition and their families. To date, more than $765 million has been either spent or obligated to improve the accessibility and quality of wounded warrior barracks.
As part of WTs improvement, a new complex will be constructed for Fort Knox warriors in transition on Spearhead Division Avenue across the street from the Hanson Center, which will include barracks and a dining facility.
"The Warrior Transition Command commissioned this project to establish a uniform facility Army-wide for all of the Warrior Transition units and Warrior Transition battalions," explained Maj. Steve Brumley, the Fort Knox WTU S-4.
Lt. Col. David Haines, the Fort Knox WTU commander, said current WTU barracks on post don't meet the Army's standards.
"There are specific standards for warrior transition barracks," explained Lt. Col. David Haines. "(The barracks) don't meet some of the standards. The primary one is square footage in the rooms. We are just a little bit short, about eight square feet short per room.
"We don't have individual bathrooms, we have group bathrooms. We are using old buildings. When they did the renovations (in 2008) they didn't change that. (The ratio) is two plus one. For every two people you have one bathroom."
In addition to the barracks and DFAC, the complex will include a new Soldiers Family Assistance Center and battalion and company headquarters.
"The quality of life for the Soldiers is going to be better," said the commander, "and the quality of life for the staff and cadre is going to be better because we struggle with office space over here."
The commander pointed out that the complex's proximity will be an advantage for Soldiers who have appointments at Ireland. He added that Col. Ronald Place, the Ireland Army Community Hospital commander, is contemplating moving Behavioral Health into the complex so that all services will be available at one location.
Although construction hasn't begun on the complex and the economic impact hasn't been specified, Lt. Col. Haines said the approximate completion date is April 2012.
Having a complex closer to the hospital will also assist with Soldier transportation issues.
"From our perspective we have a transportation contract that consumes almost $1 million a year," he said. "If it doesn't eliminate that it is going to certainly reduce it. We will still transport Soldiers to Louisville and off-post medical facilities.
"Transporting Soldiers between here and the hospital will be eliminated. As a battalion compared to some other transition battalions we have it pretty good, having our footprint all in one area."
Once the complex is constructed, the commander said the current WTU buildings will be used for the additional Soldiers in the unit. He added that the WTU's Soldier strength will increase from 340 to 400 in January. The unit is adding a community-based Warrior Transition Company.
"The plan is to put a community-based unit (in the current WTB barracks) and this battalion headquarters will become a company headquarters," he explained. "These barracks here (will be) for Soldiers that are remote or geographically remote to us but have to come here to do a muster, medical care, accountability, and many other procedures."
The barracks will also be used by low risk Soldiers who don't have mobility issues and are able to drive to medical appointments.
Along with the new complex having up-to-date amenities and more space than the current barracks, Maj. Brumley said it will also feature a nice healing environment for Soldiers.
Lt. Col. Haines added that he has been involved with the evolution of WTUs.
"I was in it as a warrior when it was still medical hold," he said. "I can see the improvement and the Army's commitment to taking care of these Soldiers."