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 November 26, 2010

People

La Crosse Municipal Airport now has Military Lounge to serve Soldiers

The La Crosse, Wis., Municipal Airport now has a Military Lounge in the airport terminal to help meet the needs of traveling servicemembers.

Clint Torp, the assistant manager of the La Crosse Municipal Airport, said the area has been operational for several months and provides a number of amenities, such as electrical outlets/tabletop area, wireless Internet connections, a television and available seating.
PHOTO: Soldiers check out the new Military Lounge at the La Crosse Municipal Airport. The area provides a place for the Soldiers to wait for planes or transportation. Contributed photo
Soldiers check out the new Military Lounge at the La Crosse Municipal Airport. The area provides a place for the Soldiers to wait for planes or transportation. (Contributed photo)

“It’s a place to relax and wait for flights or to wait for the bus ride to Fort McCoy,” Torp said. “The area offers an excellent vantage point for them to keep track of the flights and their transportation.”

Janice Saunders, the Transportation Foreman for BSA/LB&B Joint Venture Logistics, said the Military Lounge provides a convenient place for servicemembers to plug in their laptops to keep in touch with their co-workers, Families or friends, or charge their electronic devices, such as cell phones.

Information about Fort McCoy and the surrounding area also is available in the area or at the nearby Fort McCoy Information Kiosk to help servicemembers prepare for their duty or training at Fort McCoy.

The lounge also functions as an assembly-type area to facilitate pickups for the shuttle bus coming to Fort McCoy, Saunders said.

Roger Plesha, a member of the La Crosse County Board and a La Crosse businessman, said he saw the need for the area, so he approached the city council and airport board about the lounge idea.

He had seen servicemembers on the floor trying to plug in electronics at the airport or waiting for a plane to take off because they didn’t realize it was a smaller airport with a limited flight schedule.

Building a walled-in space wasn’t practical because of heating considerations and building regulations, he said. Plesha fashioned the lounge area by building partitions with fireproof materials. The acquisition of couches and other seating options was coordinated with business friends.

“I had a lot of help getting the area furnished,” Plesha said. “The area gives servicemembers some privacy, and, if they find themselves there for an extended time the couches give them a comfortable place to wait.”

Plesha said as more servicemembers become aware of the area, he hopes to get their ideas of what other amenities they want. Furnishings that may be added include high-top tables to play cards, he said.

“I think this is going to be an evolving area,” Plesha said. “It’s a work in progress.”

Torp said the new area is something the airport has wanted to do and provide to the servicemembers for a long time.

“The use of the area has been good,” he said. “We do have a designated Military Lounge area in our future expansion plans (for the terminal area), however no time frame for expansion has been set.”

For more information about the Military Lounge in the Fort McCoy community, call 608-388-3616.

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