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June 24, 2011


23 new housing units open on South Post

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Military Family housing at Fort McCoy reached a 40-year high as a ribbon-cutting to mark the completion and opening of 23 units was held June 16 on South Post.

Darrell Neitzel, director of the Directorate of Public Works, said in his welcoming remarks at the ceremony that construction of 23 military Family Housing units brings the installation’s total to 47. Another eight housing units currently are under construction and are scheduled to be completed next year.
PHOTO: A ribbon-cutting marks the opening of 23 South Post military Family housing units at Fort McCoy. Photo by Allan Harding
A ribbon-cutting marks the opening of 23 South Post military Family housing units at Fort McCoy. From left are Roy Brewer, Command Sgt. Maj. William T. Bissonette Jr., Maj. Gen. Glenn J. Lesniak, the Staff Sgt. Zachary A. Zuehlsdorf Family, Joseph F. Calcara, Col. David E. Chesser, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael B. Koszuta. (Photo by Allan Harding)

“This is the highest number of military Family housing units we have had at McCoy during my nearly 40 years at the installation,” Neitzel said. “The ceremony for these 23 units today is truly historic and significant.”

The 23 units were built by Carlson Construction of Joliet, Ill. Each is 2,150-square-feet with four bedrooms, a two-car garage and an open floor plan. Funding was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly referred to as stimulus funding.

Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser described the tight time line that Fort McCoy had to meet to submit its requests to the Installation Management Command to apply for funding. Fortunately, the documentation existed because of the installation’s planning process and shovel-ready projects, and the installation received $14 million.

“It’s a very important day for Fort McCoy and military Families,” Chesser said. “It’s important to recognize the Fort McCoy community extends well beyond our gates and includes the tremendous support we enjoy from our local communities.”

Many people came together to ensure quality construction, including the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversaw the project, the Directorate of Public Works and the contractor. Chesser said the new housing has transformed the South Post Family Housing Area from just homes to a neighborhood with multiple amenities.

The project also helps Fort McCoy meet its needs to have 134 military Family housing units to support Soldiers and their Families in the installation community.

“Most importantly, these homes are an example of the Army’s and Fort McCoy’s commitment to improve Soldier and Family readiness by providing quality housing,” he said. “Our commitment to deliver the Army Family Covenant’s promise and to provide Families a strong, supportive environment where they can thrive is embodied in these Army Family homes you see before you today.”

The area where the housing was built also is very historic, he said. It was the part of the original site of Fort McCoy — the Sparta Maneuver Tract bought by the Department of the Army in 1909, which later was renamed Camp Emory Upton and Camp Robinson.

“Let me share with you what I hear most from the residents who have recently moved into these new homes,” Chesser said. “They routinely tell me, these are the nicest homes they have ever lived in in the civilian sector or throughout our military careers,” Chesser said. “We’ve got it right here, and so on behalf of U.S. Army Garrison, Fort McCoy, thank you to all the aforementioned professionals for your commitment to this project. It would not have happened without you.”

Joseph F. Calcara, the deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations, Housing & Partnerships, said he was pleased to take time out from his work in Washington, D.C., to come to Fort McCoy for the ceremony.

“Nothing says quality of life and commitment to our servicemembers like new housing,” Calcara said.

Many Army garrisons, perhaps none more than Fort McCoy, were ready when the request came to submit projects for ARRA funding, he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers did a great job with the contract, and there was enough money left over to build eight additional housing units, which currently are under construction by the W. Gohman Construction Co.

“This is the standard we want out of our garrisons, the Army Corps of Engineers and the contractors (on this project),” Calcara said. “This is why I came here today.”

Maj. Gen. Glenn J. Lesniak, Fort McCoy’s Senior Commander and the Commanding General for the 88th Regional Support Command, said it was a great day for Fort McCoy and Army Families to increase its available housing by almost 100 percent as it nearly doubled the 24 housing units it had before the project was completed.

 “I want to echo Mr. Calcara’s comment and thank the installation, the leadership that’s here today by being ready or leaning forward in the foxhole so when the resource opportunity came up we were able to take full advantage of it,” Lesniak said.

The housing already is spoken for as the military summer transition moving season is under way, Lesniak said.

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