[ Triad Online Home ]                                                                                      December 9, 2005
News

Fort McCoy Lodging features new, high-tech telephone system 

By Rob Schuette, Triad Staff

      State-of-the art phone communications and high-speed Internet connections are among the features offered by a new phone system being installed to serve Fort McCoy Lodging rooms.

      Mary Hoeft, Fort McCoy Lodging manager, said the project will provide Soldiers and civilians staying in the rooms with the conveniences they deserve.

Photo: James Haag (left), Sprint national technical coordinator, and Nick Valdez of Extreme Network examine a setup for the new Lodging phone system and high-speed Internet access. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
James Haag (left), Sprint national technical coordinator, and Nick Valdez of Extreme Network examine a setup for the new Lodging phone system and high-speed Internet access. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      "This enhancement brings us up to the Army Lodging Standards and provides like services as the commercial industry," she said.

      The phone system will provide a number of new amenities previously not available at Fort McCoy. One of the nice features will be voice mail. Hoeft said this will allow the Lodging staff to leave a message in one or all of the rooms and also cancel messages with the touch of a button.

      "We can readily transfer weather warnings, provide information on upcoming events, or provide policy information," Hoeft said.

      Other features will allow guests or attendants to program an automatic wakeup call and allow guests to complete a self-checkout, she said. "The system will increase efficiencies of the Lodging operation."

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Charles Arbeen of the 84th U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Command tries out the new high-speed Internet. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Arbeen of the 84th U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Command tries out the new high-speed Internet. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Larry Dunford, a contractor for Sprint Communications, said the system is being installed at Fort McCoy as a joint project between Sprint Communications and Communication Construction Services Inc.

      The project will cover approximately 700 rooms in 45 Lodging facilities spread throughout the installation. Dunford said the project will include the 84th U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Command dormitory in building 51. It will not include non-Lodging facilities at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy and the Wisconsin National Guard Military Academy.

      Dunford said the system will include the option of having long-distance calls billed to the room whereas in the past guests had to use calling cards or credit cards to make long-distance calls.

      This will help ensure guests have access to good phone communications with their families, friends, business cohorts, etc. Dunford said the system also will reduce the potential for guests who call out to receive a busy signal.

      Business travelers also will find it easier to stay in touch with their home installations or stations and families with the high-speed Internet connections available in conjunction with the new phone system, Dunford said.

      "Laptops now are an essential part of business equipment," Dunford said. "High-speed Internet connections are the No. 1 requested amenity for hotel guests."

      The new high-speed connections will encourage Soldiers and their families to send photos back and forth as well as using video instant messaging, he said. The system will include built-in checks to ensure customers' security on line.

      "People will do things with computers that they didn't do before because of the high-speed connections," Dunford said.

      Guests will have a 24-hour, 800-number help desk available to help them handle any computer problems or questions, he said.

      The system has been installed or is being installed at facilities with Army Lodging operations throughout the country that request it, Dunford said. Some of the installations include Fort Polk, La., Fort Belvoir, Va., Fort Dix, N.J., Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Lewis, Wash., and at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Air Field in Georgia.

      "This system will bring Fort McCoy's system up to the standards of high-quality hotels in phone and Internet service and in some instances exceed them," Dunford said. "It also will ensure the services they find at Fort McCoy are consistent with the standards they find at other Army Lodging operations."

      Hoeft said the system initially is being funded and installed by a commercial company with the installation incurring no upfront costs.

      The cost of providing the services will be reflected in slightly higher Lodging room rates.

      Fort McCoy still will continue to provide rooms to guests at reasonable rates, which are among the lowest in the Northwest Region of the Installation Management Agency, she said.

 

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