PIAf'ON CANYON MANUEVER SITE, Colo.---With Fort Carson's growth in Soldiers over the last several years, existing training lands are used more frequently to ensure Soldiers are prepared for combat operations. With increased use, comes increased need for maintenance.

To meet those needs at PiAfA+-on Canyon Maneuver Site, the Directorate of Public Works Fort Carson Support Services operations and maintenance contractor, KIRA, hired three local employees in February to complement their support personnel, who normally work at Fort Carson.

"With full-time maintenance personnel at PCMS, the response time to correct system failures is dramatically decreased," explained Terry Hagen, DPW operations and maintenance division base operations branch chief. "This will protect government assets from additional damage during utility failures and maintain roads from washouts or damage from vehicle maneuvers."

In addition to the new local staff members, KIRA sends up to 10 workers from Fort Cason a week to support PCMS maintenance requirements, said Mark Bartle, FCSS project manager. KIRA staff at PCMS perform general maintenance and repair of equipment and buildings, including electrical, heating and air conditioning, grounds maintenance and carpentry.

"I made a conscious decision to hire employees from the local area. Currently, there are two general maintenance workers from Trinidad (Colorado) and the supervisor is from Pueblo (Colorado)," said Bartle. "I thought it was important to support the local community by contributing to the economy and businesses in the area."

As part of the job requirement, the supervisor, from Pueblo, lives in Trinidad during the work week and every third weekend.

In addition to hiring locally, KIRA is also using local vendors, when possible, to support their maintenance needs including carpentry materials, plumbing, heating, electrical, road base material and a variety of other building supplies.

"With PCMS separated from Fort Carson by over a hundred miles, it is not practical to have material shipped from the Colorado Springs area," said Hagen of the move toward local purchasing. "Using the vendors in the local area for material and possibly contract support not only brings revenue and potential work to the community, it will place PCMS as part of the local community."

Bartle estimates that dependent upon funding, the staff wages and purchase of goods and services in the local economy, KIRA could be spending up to $350, 000 this fiscal year.

"If funding is available, we would hope to see some additional growth in PCMS and hire one to two more employees," said Bartle of future plans. "If this happens, we will again hire from the surrounding area and add to the local vendor list for support services."