FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Fort Riley officials explained what changes are coming to the installation in the face of reductions across the Department of the Army and a stringent fiscal reality.
During a roundtable discussion Thursday, Fort Riley’s Garrison Commander Colonel William Clark touched on a number of topics, including schools, construction and a reduction in the civilian workforce.
Clark also revealed that Fort Riley will have all of its 18,000 soldiers (five brigades) home in early 2012.
Units will start deploying later in the year but soldiers will be going on shorter nine month rotations.
“When soldiers know that they’re going to be home for a longer period of time, many of them make the decision to bring their families to Fort Riley versus if they’re gone more frequently, they can leave their family with their relatives or so forth so we expect to see our dependent population increase,” Colonel Clark said.
He also addressed overcrowding in schools on post, which are all 33% overcapacity. Fort Riley Middle School is 60% overcapacity. Fort Riley is hoping to get a chunk of the $250 million Congress has approved to repair public schools on military installations and use that money to help build a new middle school. Members of the Office of Economic Adjustment are headed to Fort Riley to look at the middle school and Clark says the installation should know by June of 2012 whether or not the project is happening.
As for construction, he said that over the past six years, $1.5 billion has been spent on projects but for the next six years, only $12 million has been allotted, meaning that several projects have been deferred and existing facilities will need to be reutilized.
When it comes to the 15% reduction in the civilian workforce Fort Riley is being forced to make, Clark says 60 out of the 160 cuts have already been made through attrition, reassignments and early retirements. The remaining 100 cuts must be made by September of 2012. The reductions will leave Fort Riley with 940 civilian employees.