SPARTA, Wis. - Fort McCoy played an important role in preparing troops for deployment overseas.
But its role changed two years ago, as the U.S. began drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That's not stopping it from constructing a $9.3 million central issue facility that will play a large role in paving the future of the fort.
At the CIF, soldiers will be able to get any gear they need.20944516
It will primarily serve Army reserve units from across the country -- a strategic plan to keep the fort a training destination during an active war time or not.
"It has a lot of history" is a nice way of explaining what shape Fort McCoy's central issue facility is in.
"We've had water coming through before," said CIF property book officer Tom Lovgren.
Built in the 1940's, Lovgren said it's seen its better days.
"Some of the forklifts have actually fallen through the floor," said Lovgren.
While CIFs would usually be shut down after the base is no longer preparing troops for deployment, Fort McCoy is getting a brand new one, which will make it an attractive destination for Army reserve troops from across the country.
"If you take a look in the United States, the closest place where there's an active duty CIF is in Missouri or Fort Knox, KY. Those are the closest ones these soldiers have," said Lovgren.
"We like to say we have world-class training facilities, but this might put some units over the edge to come to Fort McCoy because if they need to receive their equipment, they can get it here while doing their training," said public affairs officer Linda Fournier.
"It's all about taking care of them as accurately, with courtesy and as efficiently as we can to get them back out to do the training that they need to do, because that's what they're here for. They're here for training," said Lovgren.
Lovgren said they had plenty of input into the new design, making sure to take into account every detail.
"At the back, we'll have humidity-controlled air for our body armor and ballistic plates," said Lovgren. "In January, you don't want your soldiers waiting outside, waiting outside, so give me the square footage inside."
It will work to ensure that no matter what the future holds, Fort McCoy will have a place in it.
"We have to plan for the future as far as what's going on, and we have to be viable. That's one of our selling points. Not only great training, but you can get equipment and take it back home with you, as well," said Lovgren.
Lovgren said even before the new facility is built, he's expecting the amount of gear they're issuing to go back up to about where it was a few years ago when the fort was mobilizing troops.
He said that's because they're continuing to market their facility to reserve troops from across the country.
Construction will start in a month on the new facility.
Fort McCoy expects it to be completed at the beginning of 2015.
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