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Artillery Firepower at Fort Sill

Background

Fort Sill is the home of the Fires Center of Excellence, comprising the U.S. Army Field Artillery School and the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery (ADA) School. Mission expansion of the Fires Center of Excellence, which includes the relocation of the ADA School to Fort Sill has resulted in unprecedented growth in the region due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission decisions. The ADA school, along with an expanded Fires Center of Excellence, is likely to usher in a new era of growth for the post, and with it, new challenges and opportunities for the local communities within southwest Oklahoma.

Based on preliminary estimates, BRAC-related growth will create more than 3,500 new, permanent jobs and more than $950 million of capital investment at Fort Sill.

Community Response

The Fort Sill Regional Growth Management Plan, completed in January 2009, serves as the guidebook for mission growth-related challenges. The plan identifies and assesses the physical, social, and economic infrastructure systems available to support the BRAC development and associated growth and also helps develop a coordinated, comprehensive, and actionable plan for dealing with these challenges. The plan is regional in nature, and outlines the organizational makeup and structure that may be needed to effectively implement the more regional aspects of the recommendations.

Following the BRAC announcement, local area developers responded quickly by securing land and planning housing projects. As an example, within the Lawton community, more residential lots were platted within the last three years than in the previous 10 years combined. During this time, the City of Lawton completed several code modifications to streamline the development process and also hired an additional plan review engineer. In order to bolster the quality of rental housing in the area, Fort Sill distributed the Off Post Housing Rental Policy to provide minimum standards for rental housing and a procedure for addressing problems. The policy includes a mandatory inspection and could prove to be a significant catalyst in raising the quality of rental housing for all residents within the Fort Sill region.

Approximately 2,600 additional students are projected to enter regional school districts by the fall of 2012, with the majority of the students entering the Elgin, Cache, and Lawton districts. In general, the school districts' leaders and boards of education have been proactive in their preparations for the anticipated BRAC growth, with almost $70 million in capital improvements and physical facilities funded and completed.

In Fiscal Year 2010 to Fiscal Year 2015, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation programmed a number of state and federal highway system roadway and bridge projects totaling $65 million within the Fort Sill impact area in their Construction Work Plan. Additional funding for improvements to the local roadway systems is still needed.

To view the community's 2009 Mission Growth profile, click here.

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