Drake Adams, painter with Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities, removes scaffolding from a recently patched and painted room as he exits the Infantry Barracks quarters through the yet-to-be-renovated kitchen March 26. Infantry Barracks quarters are currently undergoing a renovation, to include painted cabinets and new countertops in the kitchens. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

By June 1, 32 units within Infantry Barracks will have a new, modern look following renovations by Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities.

“The real goal is to make them appealing to (Command and General Staff College) students,” said Joe Gandara, FLFHC community director. “Right now, based on last year’s class, there is a belief that Infantry Barracks is lesser quality because they’re older and they’re not as desirable as other neighborhoods.

“They are very large units, so, for families that have a lot of kids, we would love to get them back into Infantry Barracks,” he said.

Scott Little, painter with Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities, moves painting supplies in a recently patched and painted room March 26 in Infantry Barracks. Infantry Barracks quarters are currently undergoing a renovation, to include updated light fixtures, new bathroom vanities and new kitchen countertops. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Upgrades, which began in January, include standardizing and updating light fixtures so they can be replaced with the same model if they should go bad; painting kitchen cabinets; replacing the kitchen countertops with black granite; replacing the vinyl floors in the kitchen and bathrooms with ceramic tile; replacing the wooden vanities in the bathrooms with pedestal sinks; and accent painting throughout the house.

Additionally, although only 32 of the 98 units are currently being renovated, all 98 units have received roof work to combat leaks and will go through lead paint containment for safety.

Most of the renovations are being done by FLFHC inhouse staff except the flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, the countertops in the kitchens, and the roof work, which are being done by outside contractors, Gandara said.

Units currently occupied by CGSC students are receiving the lead paint containment and the roof work, then will be immediately turned over to anyone who wants a rent discount, including incoming CGSC students, geographic bachelors, retirees and veterans.

After the first 32 units are complete, the additional empty units will also be upgraded once the summer surge is over.

BEFORE and AFTER: Infantry Barracks quarters are currently undergoing renovations, of which the “before” look of wood cabinets is seen here in one of the kitchens undergoing renovation and the “after” look of painted cabinets and new countertops is shown after the renovation in a different unit March 26. The kitchen cabinets are being painted and the countertops are being replaced. Other repairs and upgrades are being made in the other rooms of the units as well. Photos by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

While COVID-19 concerns have caused a suspension in routine work orders, Gandara said it has allowed the work to progress in Infantry Barracks and other historic houses.

“It’s allowing me a lot more manpower to do more stuff in Infantry Barracks and other vacant units, like Main Post, than I otherwise would have,” Gandara said.

All historic houses on post are receiving the lead paint containment as well, he said.

“Everything built before 1978, we’ll always look at the paint on the walls to make sure we contain them,” Gandara said.

Drake Adams and Scott Little, painters with Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities, enter quarters while transferring supplies and equipment to and from their vehicle while working on walls and cabinets March 26 in Infantry Barracks. Several Infantry Barracks units are currently undergoing a renovation to help make the large quarters more enticing to families. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

All the work on Infantry Barracks is being funded by the reinvestment account, Gandara said

“When we take somebody’s rent, we have a certain amount of that rent that pays our bills and the remainder goes into the reinvestment account,” Gandara said. “That account allows upgrades to historic houses, upgrades to roads and this kind of thing. The Army has to approve it before use and they’ve already done so.”

A model of the updated Infantry Barracks will be available for viewing. For more information, call FLFHC at (913) 682-6300.

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