Construction changing face of Fort Hood, more work planned
February 28, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Feb. 28, 2012) -- With more than $1 billion in funded construction projects, the landscape of Fort Hood is changing to improve the quality of life for Soldiers, their families and civilians.
"We have over $750 million in projects currently under construction," Kristina Manning, chief, planning division, Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works, or DPW, said. "There is another over $250 million of funded projects in the design phase."
Managing those projects falls on the shoulders of DPW engineers, who act as liaisons between Fort Hood Garrison and the Army Corps of Engineers, who oversees the contractors that build the projects.
"We keep the garrison involved and look out for the best interests of Fort Hood," Manning said.
Managing the ongoing construction projects keeps the engineers busy, especially since those projects currently stretch into the billions.
Nearly two-thirds, just short of $700 million, of those construction funds are being spent on the post's new medical center and Warrior Transition Brigade campus, Manning added.
WARRIOR TRANSITION BRIGADE CAMPUS
Fort Hood's new medical center is set to be complete in 2015 and will include five stories and three parking garages, Manning said.
The $551 million, 947,000-square feet facility, Fort Hood's largest ongoing construction project, will have 151 beds.
"So far, everything is on track," Manning said. "We are really starting to get moving." The new $58 million Warrior Transition Brigade, or WTB, campus is nearing completion and will consolidate the brigade into one central area.
The construction of the WTB campus has been completed in phases. A battalion headquarters and two company operations areas were completed in August, Manning said.
"Three company operations areas and the 15,000-square foot Soldier and Family Assistance Center should be complete this month," she added.
The final phase will be the completion of the 320-room, $40.8 million barracks. Manning said that building should be complete in May.
The new medical center and adjacent WTB will be the eastern anchor of what DPW calls the Clear Creek/Darnall Area Development Plan.
Long-term planning for Fort Hood includes area development plans that will centralize housing, amenities and unit facilities near or within that particular unit's footprint, as well as the creation of retail and business sectors on the installation. The Clear Creek/Darnall Area is the largest area development plan.
"The area development plan serves as a roadmap," Manning said.
Public Works has been working closely with garrison officials, unit commanders and tenant agencies to formulate area development plans for the way ahead at Fort Hood.
Stretching beyond Clear Creek Road to include the new Hood Stadium, which is under construction behind the Community Events Center, the Clear Creek/Darnall Area Development Plan includes the medical center and WTB on the east side, a planned retail and entertainment area, including Hood Stadium on the west, and, eventually, proposed housing areas in the middle in what is now the warehouse district.
The old Hood Stadium, which was demolished to make room for the mew medical center, will be replaced by a new Hood Stadium, complete with a stage, sport fields and parking for more than 1,000 vehicles.
Manning said the stadium is scheduled to be complete by the end of August.
Nearby the stadium, construction is slated to begin on the new Clear Creek Exchange store in June.
"This store will be laid out better and with have almost 265,000 square feet of retail space," Manning said.
The new store, which is currently scheduled to open in April 2014, will be located on the southeast corner of Clear Creek Road and Tank Destroyer Boulevard and will be a key amenity in the long-term area development plan, she added.
"The store will serve as an anchor to create a consolidated shopping and retail area," Manning said.
Fort Hood's warehouse district, which lies on the post's south side between the hospital and the Clear Creek Exchange and is part of the Clear Creek, Darnall Area Development Plan, is filled with World War II-era wood buildings that are slated for deconstruction over the next five years.
WORLD WAR II WOOD
Almost 1 million square feet of World War II-era wood buildings are slated to be removed across the post, Charlie Witt, Fort Hood DPW, said.
"This is a huge effort," Witt added.
With more than 150 World War II buildings on Fort Hood, the demolition is being worked in phases.
"For fiscal year 2011-2012, we have funded and programmed for almost 400,000-square feet to come down," Witt said.
The first phase will involve about 80 facilities scattered throughout the installation.
"That will leave 74 others for fiscal years 2013-2017," Witt added.
As the buildings come down, the resources will be reused and repurposed.
Wood from the buildings will be recycled here at Fort Hood and the contractor will recycle the steel.
"Steel is too expensive to recycle here," Witt said.
Other materials from the buildings will be repurposed when possible.
"We are trying to work with Habitat for Humanity," Witt added.
As the buildings come down, Fort Hood can focus on the area development plans officials have been working to establish.
69th AIR DEFENSE ARTILLERY BRIGADE
On the post's eastern side, just past Hood Army Airfield, sits the new headquarters of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, or ADA Bde, and the initial stages of what will eventually become a campus-like setting for the brigade Soldiers.
Work continues on company operation areas and motor pools.
"We've got a good amount of work done, and groundwork has been laid in adjacent areas," Witt said. "Things are moving along."
With $188 million worth of projects in the 69th ADA footprint either under construction or programmed to be built, there is an additional $170 million that is as of yet unprogrammed, Witt said. Original plans for the campus involved a shoppette and barracks, but those projects lack the funding resources right now.
"We've taken a big hit with budget cuts," he said.
Manning said the current focus with the 69th ADA Bde. is to establish the functional areas. The unit's new location will also involve relocating a security checkpoint, since the 69th ADA Bde. is currently located outside the gates on East Range Road.
"Eventually, we will move the (access control point) to the intersection of Nolanville Road," Manning said, adding that should occur sometime in mid-2013.
CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTERS
Work is ongoing on three new child development centers and a youth center, for a total of a little more than $31 million.
"They are currently under construction and should open later this year," Manning said.
The new centers are in addition to the two child development centers and youth center that opened last year.
One of the centers being built will replace Clear Creek CDC, located in Kouma Village. The two buildings that currently comprise Clear Creek CDC could be used to house another service or tenant.
"We are looking at repurposing those buildings," Manning said.
Repurposing, she added, is the direction in which the Army is moving.
The current Carl R. Darnall Hospital is another building DPW is looking into repurposing, a task that early estimates place at nearly $90 million to complete, Manning added.
Construction was completed in January on the new 480-room 1st Cavalry Division barracks. Currently, no other barracks construction is programmed, Manning said, but there are long-term plans to possibly eventually add single-Family housing in the warehouse district.
On West Fort Hood, two hangars for unmanned aerial systems are under design and a motor pool and company area are under construction. Manning said an additional motor pool and company area are also under design.
At North Fort Hood, work is underway for phase one of the Operational Readiness Training Complex and is expected to be complete in the third quarter of fiscal year 2014, Manning said.
Construction on the project includes a battalion headquarters, a four-story barracks building, a dining facility and infrastructure.
Phase two is not currently funded and was one of the budget cuts, Manning said.