By Bernard DevlinMarch 27, 2008
Fort Lewis, Wash., and the Yakima Training Center currently have robust construction programs.
Installation infrastructure is being transformed to accommodate newly-arriving tactical units. The MILCON budgets for Fiscal Years 2009-13 is $2.05 billion at Fort Lewis for the Army, Army Reserve, National Guard, Non-Appropriated Fund activities, Special Operations Command and Medical Command, according to Thomas Poole, Army program manager.
Projects include new barracks; company, battalion, and brigade headquarters; tactical equipment maintenance facilities; ranges, and working dog kennels. Additional projects include a medical/dental clinic and military treatment facility and child development centers.
Major infrastructure improvements include a fitness center; ROTC renovation (currently housed in World War II-era buildings), chapels and fire stations. Fort Lewis will expand from about 21,000 Soldiers to 32,000 Soldiers and Family members over the next few years with new units being stationed there.
Fort Lewis had previously been very aggressive in demolition of World War II facilities to meet congressional requirements and that has left Fort Lewis short of facilities to adequately support garrison activities, train soldiers in the field and to maintain weapon qualifications.
New Army standards require larger facilities so that the Soldiers have the correct amount of space to accomplish their missions. In addition, the increased number of Soldiers will require more and updated ranges and training facilities.
Due to the significant population growth, Family and Community Support Services for Soldiers and Family members are strained on post. Fort Lewis is short of Child Development Centers and Youth Centers to support the increased number of Soldiers' Families. Projects have been inserted into the Fort Lewis Military Construction program to provide the number of facilities needed, according to Poole.
The Army Corps of Engineers District that supports Fort Lewis also has projects at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Mont., and Mountain Home Air Force Base, an hour south of Boise, Idaho.