A town hall meeting for all members of the Fort Irwin community was held Aug. 8 at Sandy Basin Community Center. Town hall meetings are held quarterly and are an opportunity for Soldiers and family members to get information about what’s going on around post, as well as to voice concerns and ask questions of the installation’s leaders. Following are highlights from last week’s meeting:
Col. Kurt Pinkerton, Fort Irwin Garrison commander, provided an overview of some policies concerning living on post. He asked for community cooperation in abiding by parking regulations, speed limits, and garage sales. The speed limit in housing areas is 15 mph, and garage sales are permitted to residents once a month by registering with Jason Miller, community information manager, at 380-8076.
Pinkerton discussed some of the installation’s schools and education programs. A new transitional kindergarten program is available this year for children turning 5 between September and December, and there is no charge for Fort Irwin residents to attend Colin Powell Preschool. The Desert University program authorizes Soldiers to spend the hours of 3-6 p.m. studying or attending college classes twice a week, with command approval. Details are available by visiting the Fort Irwin Army Education Center or calling 380-4218.
Pinkerton provided an update on some of the construction projects around post. Reggie’s will reopen as a new restaurant by Veterans Day, renovations to the blue track will most likely be complete by the end of the month, the zero-depth water spray park for children is slated for completion by the end of the month, and the Warrior Zone area in Ingalls Recreation Center will be finished by the end of 2012.
Lt. Col. Larry Patterson, deputy commander of Weed Army Community Hospital, went over the services that MEDDAC and the hospital provide. WACH has 20 beds and six mother-baby units, and can provide lab, X-ray and evacuation services. A new hospital is in the works, and is slated for completion in 2015.
Staff Sgt. Roberta Stevens, senior dental NCO, talked about dental services available on post, including oral surgery and orthodontics, which are available for free through Tricare.
A resident asked whether Friday night roller skating will be reinstated at Fitness Connection, which is also known as Coyote Activity Center. Pinkerton replied that he and other leaders are assessing the best uses of the facility, and that roller skating will be reinstated somewhere on post.
A resident expressed concern that the new hospital would encroach on housing areas and interfere with children being able to play outside. Pinkerton replied that that will not happen.
A resident asked whether there were any plans to provide separate activity facilities for middle schoolers and teenagers. Children in grades six through 12 currently share the Middle School Teen Center. Pinkerton replied that there are plans to separate the age groups and that work is underway on Bldg. 1322 on Goldstone Road, which will become the new home of School Age Services, and the middle-schoolers or teenagers will then have their own building in the current SAS location in Bldg. 1313.