Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles looking back at the news stories covered in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp over the past decade and will wrap up with a look back at 2020.
Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
2013 According to Fort Leavenworth Lamp archives, a furlough of Department of Defense civilians began July 6 because of federal budget issues. The furlough — 11 days spread out over 11 weeks — forced several Fort Leavenworth services to close or have reduced operations on Fridays. When the government fully shutdown Oct. 1-17, more services were affected and Command and General Staff College classes normally taught by civilian instructors were combined and taught by military instructors.
The demolition of 26 duplexes in Normandy Village began Aug. 19, after being deemed “functionally obsolete” because of the lack of garages and driveways, narrows streets and more. Salvaged cabinetry, doors and appliances were donated to Habitat ReStore in Kansas City, Mo. Michaels Military Housing began construction of 88 free-standing homes that were completed in 2015.
On Dec. 3, Smith Lake was drained and dredged to allow repairs to be made to the Merritt Lake dam. About 15,000 cubic yards of deposited silt and sediment were removed in November and construction continued through February 2015. Spring rain refilled Smith Lake and fish were restocked in May 2015. Merritt Lake subsequently was drained and dredged in March 2016. A new, larger concrete outflow was installed to help prevent the lake from overflowing across Grant Avenue.
On Jan. 10, Munson Army Health Center’s pharmacy officially opened after being in a temporary modular annex for two years. The new pharmacy provided larger waiting areas and walls separating help windows for patient privacy. With the pharmacy opening, the laboratory was relocated to the annex.
On April 15, the Fort Leavenworth Stray Facility officially opened at the Elizabeth Schenck Smith House following three weeks of renovations after six months of being vacant. Prior to the move, the FLSF was part of the Veterinary Treatment Facility. The change to put the program in its own facility ensured that the program continued after the VTF could no longer accommodate strays following an upcoming remodel. From there, the facility fell under Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
On June 21, Eisenhower Hall officially reopened following a yearlong $35 million renovation that included 40 upgraded multi-media classrooms for several education programs, a new conference center, upgrades to DePuy Auditorium and an upgraded HVAC system.
Eisenhower Hall’s neighbor, the Combined Arms Research Library also completed extensive renovations, including moving the children’s library to the first floor, creating a quieter study area on the second floor, renovating the information desk, a new staircase in the center of the building and new carpet and furniture on both floors. CARL reopened May 13. On Sept. 11, 2014, CARL was renamed in honor of former Missouri Rep. Ike Skelton because of Skelton’s dedication to military education.
In March, the Transition Assistance Program expanded following the passing of the Opportunity to Work Act Nov. 21, 2012, which made five-day TAP workshops mandatory for transitioning service members. The Army Career and Alumni Program — now the Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program — added a classroom at the Resiliency Center that included 36 workstations with internet access to make the education process more efficient. In May, an entrepreneurial workshop, which focuses on launching and growing a business, was added to the TAP program.
2014 In December, the Command and General Staff Officer Course and the School of Advanced Military Studies graduated their final winter classes. CGSOC and SAMS had shifted to two overlapping classes per year for several years to better support the Army’s operational tempo of ongoing unit deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The West African Ebola virus epidemic was a major concern in 2014, which led to a town hall meeting Oct. 29 with leaders from the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth Garrison and Munson Army Health Center discussing the Army’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus. Steps for containment included preparation and patient screening.
There were two major house fires in February, destroying two buildings with a combined value of $832,000, plus personal property. Both fires began in kitchens. The B-shift firefighters who responded to the fires were honored for their efforts by the Garrison March 13.
Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities opened a new community center in September following $1.5 million worth of construction that began in January. The construction of the community center was part of the privatization partnership with Michaels Military Housing that began in 2006.
Also in 2014, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation received a $10,000 grant from Kansas City Royals Charities and $2,500 from Royals Alumni to support surviving and waiting family events and youth sports camps.
2015 On Feb. 7, the post opened the Visitor Control Center in a tent for all unescorted visitors to go through criminal background checks before receiving authorization to enter post. In May, the VCC transitioned to a trailer near Sherman Gate.
In April, the Veterinary Treatment Facility reopened following a $5.8 million remodel that began in spring 2013. Renovations included expanded areas, a new X-ray machine and more, which allowed staff the ability to accommodate more appointments and procedures. During the remodel, the VTF used a temporary trailer to provide services.
On May 19, the Frontier Tribute Trail in front of the Frontier Army Museum officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Sponsored by the Friends of the FAM, the trail includes bricks placed in honor and memory of organizations and loved ones. Nearly 200 memorial bricks have been placed within the trail since 2015.
On July 6, heavy rainfall caused significant flood damage in several areas, including a cave in of a creek bank off 10th Cavalry Loop exposing an active high voltage line next to an abandoned sewer line. Cleanup continued over the course of the month.
In August, Unified School District 207 officially began a free preschool program for 4-year-olds at all three elementary schools following approval of the program by school board members in January. The program prepares youth for kindergarten with fundamental academic, behavioral and social skills through fun and interactive ways. In October, USD 207 received a five-year $1.5 million grant from the DoD Education Activity Partnership Grant Program, known as Project PRIME. The grant focuses on academic excellence and student achievement in mathematics.