FORT LEE, Virginia -- The Fort Lee Garrison command team is actively pursuing partnership agreements with several local and state entities to render services it has traditionally managed or offered on its own, potentially saving the installation millions of dollars and increasing customer support.Falling under the P4 (public-public, public-private) Partnership Program, the negotiations seek to leverage the sharing of community resources and municipal support services, as well as morale, welfare and recreation functions. They were borne out of Army-directed contract cost reductions, noted Christopher M. McGuire, who served as the garrison executive officer and P4 lead up until a recent move to a new assignment overseas."We were directed by IMCOM to establish community partnerships using the Intergovernmental Service Agreement format, which allows us to enter into contracts with state and local municipal governments without having to use the Federal Acquisition Contracting mechanism," McGuire said. "The reasoning is that these IGSA's have been found to reduce contract costs by 25 percent."The first major P4 agreement -- an upgraded 911 Computer-Aided Dispatch system launched in conjunction with neighboring Prince George County last month -- cost $400,000, significantly less than the $5.8 million price tag for an outright purchase and start-up. Fort Lee's investment went toward improving the county's existing capability, and the training and installation here. It reduced standard government contract acquisition time by four years.Percy Ashcraft, Prince George County administrator, said the project is mutually beneficial and just one example of his community's long-productive partnership with the post."The fact that Fort Lee and the county of Prince George have taken on such a dynamic project is in itself very important," he said. "It means we communicate well, trying to help each other and trying to be good partners. We value Fort Lee and its presence in the community, and if we can do something to help, we want to make it happen. Something as critical as 911 -- if it can save a life, save property or a combination of both -- then it just makes the relationship so much better."Looking forward, the installation is in the midst of negotiating agreements that would give residents access to recreational and leisure facilities in surrounding communities. McGuire said the post library located within the Army Logistics University and the outdoor pool adjacent to the Lee Club are examples of "service deficiencies." The pool is only open four months a year and is expensive to operate, requiring a daily user fee of $5 to stay afloat. Issues like limited parking and being in the middle of a school facility has hampered library use for years.Thus, the installation is working on P4 agreements with the City of Hopewell with a goal of enhancing its leisure portfolio. Use of the Hopewell Community Center's heated, indoor aquatic center is one of those deals, said McGuire. The daily usage charge is $3."Residents would get access to the pool and everything else in the community center -- racquetball and basketball courts and fitness equipment. It's a beautiful facility, and it's open 310 days a year," he said, noting it also offers a myriad of special programs. "The center operates six days a week, minus the holidays."The community center pool also has been used by military units for water survival training, noted McGuire, and the agreement would streamline that process.Concerning the library, Fort Lee has reached out to the Appomattox Regional system to discuss options. "We've learned that the Appomattox system will give Fort Lee residents access to eight local libraries and the assortment of online programs, academic databases, children's activities and adult learning opportunities they offer."No cost is associated with library access, and they would be open to personnel, such as students, who are not permanent residents here. There are nine area libraries operating under the ARLS, including a Smart Beginnings facility for small children.The agreements -- expected to be finalized sometime this year -- would clearly meet the installation's obligation to enhance quality of life for military personnel and their families and its responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer money, McGuire said. As such, the post would divest itself of the on-post pool and FMWR library. The academic research area at ALU would continue normal operations.The garrison also has been working with the state to explore the feasibility of entering into agreements for municipal services."There are about 85 contract mechanisms the Virginia Department of Transportation manages that touch upon almost every aspect of state government," McGuire said. "We're looking at garrison contracts set to expire this year, and through the cost-benefit analysis process, will determine if we can benefit from partnership use of their services."Among the contracts under review are those for road paving and construction, animal control, engineering services and others, McGuire elaborated.The installation's eagerness to capitalize on the P4 Program process has not gone unnoticed. The commonwealth has asked Fort Lee to take a leadership role in advising other military bases in Virginia as they pursue partnership agreements."We're leading the way among those with existing and in-progress IGSAs, so the state has asked us to be the systems integrator (for installations) across the commonwealth," McGuire said. "In that capacity, we'll have other installations looking for those IGSA opportunities, and they'll funnel those desired agreements through Fort Lee. We will coordinate with VDOT and the state, then the local or regional VDOT offices will pick up the piece where the installation is located and craft the formal agreement."All agreements would be effective upon the expiration of existing contracts, McGuire emphasized."Anything VDOT has a bona fide statewide contract for, we should be able to capitalize on as an IGSA opportunity," he said. "Road improvement is one example. We would figure out how many miles of pavement need to be constructed or how many linear feet of concrete has to be poured and what those costs are. We will then pay that cost as a part of signing the IGSA agreement. VDOT will handle everything after that. They will task-order one of their contractors to come here and do the work."Fort Lee has already identified contract opportunities that could save the government $2 million. Statewide, IGSA agreements have the potential to save installations "hundreds of millions of dollars," McGuire estimated.Military bases in California and Texas have entered into such contracts for years and have benefited considerably.All of the progress the installation has made with IGSA agreements is largely due to the many years of forged relationships with surrounding community partners. Collaboration is encouraged by activities such as the Civilian Military Council and Virginia Military Advisory Council."We have the most robust community engagement process I've seen in the 33 years I've worked for the Army," McGuire said. "We've worked hand-in-hand with the local community and the rapport has been established."More importantly, the trust is rock-solid. So, when we go in (to negotiations), we're not trying to create relationships from day one. We're going in with partners who understand Fort Lee -- what it brings to the community -- and there's no doubt that when we say, 'We want to integrate ourselves into the community,' we mean it."Fort Lee supports a population of more than 27,000 military and civilian personnel who either live or work on the installation. It injects more than $2 billion into the local economy, according to the latest economic study figures.