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Fort Hood  Killeen Daily Herald | Sunday, February 23, 2014 BUy this photo at Bryan Correira | Herald Col. Matt Elledge, garrison commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Gault, center, are joined by Keith Gogas, Samuel Parker, Brian Dosa and Skip Cornutt at the groundbreaking Feb. 10 for Fort Hood’s Training Sup- port Center. “We are excited about that project, because it’s going to support the training of soldiers and units,” Dosa said. It should open by summer 2015. Several post facilities under construction By Rose L. Thayer Killeen Daily Herald FORT HOOD — Residents will have to wait until 2015 to enjoy the fruits of construction cur- rently underway . “What’s going on right now at Fort Hood is very exciting,” said Brian Dosa, director of Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works. Nearly $1 billion of new con- struction and big projects are in the works, including a new exchange, a hotel, and facilities for units and training. Post Exchange The new Fort Hood Mall on Clear Creek Road is 35 percent complete and on target to open in spring 2015. The new shopping center will double the size of the current Clear Creek Main Exchange, said Paula Gunderson, general man- ager of Fort Hood Exchange, dur- ing a groundbreaking ceremony June 26. Army & Air Force Exchange Service is building the new 265,000-square-foot Fort Hood Mall across the street from the current 128,000-square-foot facility . The new mall, which is esti- mated to cost about $47 million, will include everything people have come to expect from the exchange, but it will be big- ger, better and more efficient, Gunderson said. “It will give customers a better shopping experience,” she said. New planned amenities include a pharmacy optical center, , dentist, more stores and more dining options in an expanded food court. North Fort Hood The construction at North Fort Hood “is going really well,” Dosa said. The Operational Readiness Training complex is expected to be complete in December, said Kristina Manning, chief of Fort Hood’s Real Property Planning Division. The project includes a battalion headquarters, two four- story barracks buildings with 672 beds, a dining facility and other infrastructure. Lightning Ranch Construction continues at the new 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade complex, nicknamed “Lightning Ranch” by the unit. A second large motor pool and an access control point are expected to open in late summer and fall 2015. The two battalion and several company headquar- ters buildings are expected to be completed this fall. Nearly $200 million has been spent on the facilities to support the brigade. Dosa is pushing for the remaining $144 million worth of construction to come back online. The proposed barracks, a dining facility a fitness complex , and a shoppette were cut from the original plans. “ the end of the day there At , are administrative facilities and motor pools to support the (69th Air Defense Artillery Regiment) for the most part,” Dosa said. “We still have it on the plan, and it’s still our goal, it’s just the real- ity of where our country is at fiscally .” Candlewood Suites The new Candlewood Suites should open in July Dosa said. , The 93-room hotel will feature a variety of amenities, including spacious studios and one-bed- room suites, fully-equipped kitch- ens and large work areas in each guest room. The facility already is visible along 761st Tank Bat- talion Avenue, near the Phantom Warrior Center. The hotel is part BUy this photo at Marianne GIsh | Herald The new Fort Hood Mall on Clear Creek Road is 35 percent complete and on target to open in spring 2015. BUy this photo at Marianne Gish | Herald A new Candlewood Suites is going up along Tank Destroyer Boulevard at Fort Hood. It’s set to open in July. of an ongoing program called Privatization of Army Lodging, which aims to modernize and save money at Army hotel facili- ties. UAS Hangar The $22 million unmanned aeri- al system complex will be built at West Fort Hood near Robert Gray Army Airfield, and will be uti- lized by Fox and Echo companies — UAS units operating within the 1st Cavalry Division’s 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. A 14,900-square- foot administrative building and a motor pool were funded in the 2013 budget to accompany a UAS hangar funded in the 2011 budget, Dosa said. The project also will widen Mohawk Road from two to four lanes in one section, and add another access control point. The hangar is large enough to fit two football fields inside it and should open this summer. The rest of the facilities will open about a year later. Training facilities Contracts on two new training facilities were awarded and con- struction is underway Dosa said . both are “badly needed.” The first is a $24 million, 160,975-square-foot training aids center to support training across Fort Hood. “We are excited about that project, because it’s going to sup- port the training of soldiers and units,” Dosa said. Officials broke ground on the center Feb. 10. They expect it to be completed in summer 2015. The facility will be built to the standard Army design, replacing the makeshift facilities the Di- rectorate of Plans, Training, Mo- bilization and Security operates out of now. Dosa described them as undersized, antiquated, World War II-era wooden buildings. Across the street from the future aids center, more than $4 million was allocated to modify the Pilot Knob range to a record- fire range. Construction began to transition the existing range from accommodating the AT-4 weapon to 16 lanes where sol- diers can qualify with the M-16 and M-4, Dosa said. It is set to be completed this fall. A new Mission Command Cen- ter was designed with the expec- tation to be programmed in 2015. However, the $46 million project is at a standstill, Dosa said. It was pulled at the Army level. “This critical project is Fort Hood’s No. 1 priority for military construction,” Dosa said. The center is designed to con- solidate all the mission training operations, Manning said. Demolition Projects The demolition of 900,000 square feet of out-of-date, wood- en, World War II-era buildings has been an ongoing project spearheaded by Installation Man- agement Command. Built in 1942 when Fort Hood was Camp Hood, the buildings were meant to be temporary but many still house , critical Fort Hood offices. Since 2012, public works demolished 650,000 square feet of the wooden buildings. At the end of 2013, Fort Hood received another $2 million for the project. The funds will allow for another 250,000 square feet of demolition this year. The entire project is expected to finish in 2017. Fort Hood also obtained an excess of portable buildings, or trailers, over the past decade. Many were acquired during the 2000s when the post swelled to 50,000 to support the 4th Infantry Division, Dosa said. Each one will be collected through the Defense Logistics Agency Disposal Service to be sold or donated to cities. Gran- bury which was hit by a tornado, , will receive some buildings. Of- ficials have until 2018 to remove all of the trailers. Future Renovations In the coming years, the Army’s initiative is to build less and instead, renovate already existing facilities. “This year, we had to fight tooth and nail for each project,” Dosa said. Now, he is focused on extending the life of facilities. “It’s good ... for Fort Hood in the end,” Dosa said. Some examples of renovation projects are Abrams Physical Fitness Center, VOLAR barracks near the hospital and on-post housing.