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.
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,"
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,"
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
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
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.