FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Nov. 30, 2010) — Major construction underway at Fort Leonard Wood will expand the post without hurting the off-post housing or hotel markets, Maj. Gen. David Quantock said Tuesday night at a Committee of Fifty dinner event honoring him as the post commanding general along with his senior leadership team.
Maj. Gen. David Quantock outlines what local business leaders can expect with on-post growth.
Quantock said about $300 million worth of construction is currently underway and another $300 million will begin soon.
“All you have to do is look around Fort Leonard Wood and you see, as I said the other day, when we cut the wire on the Prime Power facility, it’s a changing skyline. Every time you come on Fort Leonard Wood after you’ve been gone a month, the skyline is always changing,” Quantock said, noting two ribbon cuttings in November for the Prime Power School and a Starship barracks complex for engineer soldiers.
Three more barracks complexes are expected to open in the next few years, he said.
Other construction projects scheduled for near-term completion include a go-cart track and a new chapel which he said should be done by spring.
“That is going to become a landmark,” Quantock said.
Planned family housing improvements have created excitement for soldiers but concerns for some real estate agents, developers, and owners of residential rental property. Quantock said there’s no reason for that concern.
“A lot of times people start getting concerned, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to stop buying up houses off post which is quite the opposite,” Quantock said.
“Just the quality of life is going up” for on-post housing, Quantock said, noting that the number of on-post residents will actually drop from about 2400 residents to about 1800.
That’s happening because multifamily housing is being converted to or replaced by single-family or other smaller units.
“We’re doubling the house size, the quality of housing for our young soldiers, which is huge,” Quantock said, noting that his son, a first lieutenant at Fort Drum, has a house which is better than what the Quantock family lived in when the father was a major.
Improving housing is important to retain soldiers, Quantock said.
“At the end of the day, a lot of times the soldiers want to stay and a lot of times it is the families that don’t. It is a big deal when you work on the quality of life,” Quantock said.
On a related issue, Quantock said that during late summer, probably around August, he expects discussion will begin on converting the on-post lodging facilities into privatized hotels.
“Every single military post right now will not only have privatized housing … but everybody’s going to privatized hotels,” Quantock said. “What that means basically is that the quality of the hotels on post will go up but the quantity will not; basically the number of rooms will stay about the same. We do not want to compete with off-post; that is a big deal, so we worked that pretty hard.”
Quantock said a leadership retreat at Lake of the Ozarks will be held from Dec. 1 to 3 to plan a “campaign plan” for the future of Fort Leonard Wood with guideposts to measure success.
The intent is to decide “what do we want Fort Leonard Wood to be in two, three or four years … really map the road ahead,” Quantock said.
As Fort Leonard Wood has moved from being primarily a TRADOC installation with training and doctrine command schools to adding numerous FORSCOM or Forces Command deployable units, the type of soldiers at the installation as well as the families has significantly changed.
Quantock was last at Fort Leonard Wood as commandant of the Military Police School from 2006 to 2008, but the FORSCOM units have greatly expanded since then.
“It requires a different kind of installation, it requires a different kind of community,” Quantock said. “Not only do you have families that are locked down and static, but you also have many families that their loved ones are either on long TDYs or deployed, and it requires a different dynamic, a different support from the community and those folks on the installation.”
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