WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, and U.S. Representatives Tim Huelskamp and Lynn Jenkins announced Tuesday that Fort Riley was awarded a $35.2 million federal grant to build a new middle school.
“This is great news for the soldiers and their families who call Ft. Riley home. Since, 2005 when BRAC brought new Brigades, support units and the Big Red One back to Ft. Riley, we knew the Fort and Geary County would experience tremendous growth. Last year, I toured the school and it was clear it was in need of modernization and we had to address the overcrowding. Men and women in uniform who protect and defend our nation, should not have to worry about the quality of the schools where they send their children,” Senator Roberts said.
“Christmas has come early for the soldiers and their families at Ft. Riley,” Sen. Moran said. “During my visits to Ft. Riley over the past two years, it was clear that the Junction City community has worked hard to accommodate the growth in Ft. Riley’s population. This grant recognizes that children of military families are an important Department of Defense priority. USD 475 can be proud that it continues to make certain that the needs of those who serve our country are met, and their kids have access to quality schools and other educational resources.”
“We are excited about the announcement that Ft. Riley will receive funds for a new middle school. Programs like this that combine federal and local buy-in help to foster a greater sense of community for towns and bases, especially when military families experience transition,” Congressman Tim Huelskamp said.
"At approximately 40 percent over capacity, it is clear the school at Ft. Riley was in desperate need of an upgrade," said Congresswoman Jenkins. "I am pleased to see the Department of Defense recognize our brave service men, women and their families deserve quality education facilities. They sacrifice every day for this country, and we want them to be assured they will be taken care of at home."
The members of Congress applauded the efforts of Geary County Superintendent Ron Walker, Deputy Garrison Commander Linda Hoeffner, Governor Sam Brownback and John Armbrust, Executive Director of the Governor’s Military Council to ensure the Department of Defense made Ft. Riley schools a priority.
The grant was awarded as part of the Department of Defense Installations and Environment fund. The Geary County School District (USD 475) will match a portion of this funding, $6.7 million, for a total of $41.96 million to demolish and build the new middle school (6-8th grade) on post. The school’s groundbreaking is expected January 22, 2013 with doors opening in 2014. The school will hold roughly 700 students.
The delegation pledged to continue working to secure funds for a needed, second elementary school and to address remaining educational needs on post.
"We have a lot of students who have been in the building that is 40 percent overcrowded, that is almost 45 years old and no longer met the educational needs of our student population. Now we can offer our students a very nice facility. We can take some of the burden off of families that have had that concern. Now we can provide them with a really high tech, very modern facility. It’ll serve that population on Fort Riley very well," USD 475 Superintendent Dr. Ron Walker told WIBW about the grant.