First Team motor pool
This 1st Cavalry Division motor pool, one of two newly-refurbished for the division, has room for dozens of vehicles and equipment. The renovation of this motor pool at Fort Hood, Texas, cost $10.1 million, and included raising the height of the facility, as well as adding other upgrades such as administrative areas, an arms room, maintenance pit and crane. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - Mechanics in 1st Cavalry Division received two upgraded facilities here, while mechanics in 3rd Cavalry Regiment are mere months out from being able to use their brand new facility, projects that total more than $55 million.

“In these renovations, we were able to improve the infrastructure – HVAC, plumbing, electrical – increase functionality and provide a refresh,” Brian Dosa, director of Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works, said.

The recently renovated First Team motor pools had the height of the buildings raised, to accommodate larger military vehicles. Michelle Lenis, DPW – Engineering Division’s Management & Outside Oversight Team Branch chief, said the renovated buildings had to go through a redesign which included consolidating administrative areas. She said the admin areas were previously separated, which made the work flow in the motor pool bays difficult.

“Each facility had different deficient requirements from the standard. A modern motor pool requires a weapon vault, COMSEC vault, maintenance pit, multiple 10-ton cranes, administrative areas, storage areas, tool rooms, repair shops, training space, fluid distribution systems,” she explained, “various power, grounding, HVAC, ventilation and communication systems to support the operations.”

While DPW would like to have the ability to build all brand-new motor pools, the price of a new facility versus a renovated facility is not monetarily feasible. Dosa and Lenis said a renovated facility costs roughly $10 million, while a new facility costs upwards of $40 million.

The two renovated buildings had a functionality rating of F4 (Failing), which means it did not meet functional needs of the design. They also had a quality rating of Q3 (Poor), which means the condition failed to meet the minimum level of Army standards for at least one major rated component. Because of those issues, the two motor pools were sent to the top of the list to be renovated.

“This project will reduce the number of functionally inadequate vehicle maintenance/motor pool facilities and provide safe and efficient maintenance facilities that will support the training and combat readiness of 1st Cavalry Division,” Lenis said.

Checking the oil
Pfc. Joseph Smith, a 1st Cavalry Division medic, checks the oil on his M113 medical evacuation vehicle at Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 20. The division received two newly-renovated motor pools, while the 3rd Cavalry Regiment is just months away from using its brand new facility. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

The renovated motor pools also include various fluids needed to operate a vehicle, i.e. oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc., pumped directly into the bay through hoses. When vehicle operators or mechanics need a fluid, it is easily assessable. They also include an exhaust system, which pumps toxic fumes out of the motor pool.

The new Brave Rifles motor pool was built with Military Construction Army fund, which are appropriated funds from Congress that is passed into the Defense Bill. Lenis explained that these types of funds can take years for approval.

The new 3rd Cav. Regt. motor pool is more than 58,000 square feet and includes 16 bays, state-of-the-art equipment and a large administrative area. Dosa said the motor pool is currently expected to be complete sometime in December.

“In the past few years Fort Hood has been fortunate to get 1-2 MCA approved each year, however, we still maintain a dire need to completely modernize Fort Hood’s motor pools.”

There are currently 68 battalion sized motor pools on Fort Hood. Of those, 29 motor pools were built in the 1950s and 1960s, before the Army fielded larger vehicles like the M1 and M2.

“These facilities lack the functionality required for units to maintain their vehicles and equipment, like overhead lift, adequate bay size, oil water separators, and places to store repair parts and tools,” Dosa explained.

The DPW director explained that 13 of the motor pools being used by 1st Cav. Div. and 3rd Cav. Regt. cannot be renovated, they must be demolished and rebuilt, like the one projected to be complete in December.

The safety and quality of life of Soldiers at Fort Hood is at the top of DPW’s priorities, which is why upgrading and replacing outdated motor pools across the installation is important.

“For units at Fort Hood, especially those in our four brigade combat teams, motor pools are absolutely critical in maintaining readiness and building lethality,” Dosa concluded. “We will continue to work hard at making sure these facilities are in the best possible condition, and also seek funding to replace those built in the 1950/60s with modern motor pools. Our Soldiers deserve nothing less.”