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    Garrison commander conducts virtual media round table

    Col. Will McKannay, U.S. Army Garrison Commander, Fort Riley, answers a question from a representative of regional media outlets

    Photo By Steve Elstrom | Col. Will McKannay, U.S. Army Garrison Commander, Fort Riley, answers a question from...... read more read more

    KS, UNITED STATES

    01.21.2021

    Story by Thomas Reust 

    Fort Riley Public Affairs Office

    Col. Will McKannay, Fort Riley garrison commander, hosted a media roundtable Jan. 12 to provide a state of the installation address to state and local news outlets. The focus was on accomplishments of the past year, the COVID-19 challenge and vaccinations update, operations and future initiatives on Fort Riley.
    “2020 was both a great and challenging year at Fort Riley,” said McKannay. “We all know that challenges faced by the entire world in the fight against coronavirus ... I arrived to Fort Riley in the middle of this fight, and we continue to work as a community to protect each other and offer everything that we can do to prevent the spread of the disease. To that end, we've continued to mandate mask wearing on post, except in situations where social distancing can be maintained or during certain outdoor fitness activities.”
    “Can you tell me what the benchmarks are for having to put into place more stringent restrictions for COVID-19?” Dewey Terrill, news director for KJCK, asked.
    McKannay outlined the procedures for those restriction decisions. They included the infection rate, expert medical advice and community leader input. All of the restrictions are then reviewed by senior leaders for final action.
    McKannay said he knows these mitigation procedures constitute a hardship for the community.
    “We have limited capacity at some facilities, such as our child development centers, our fitness centers and our recreation areas, such as Warrior Zone and Spare Time,” McKannay said. "As much as we would like to open all these facilities back to normal operations, especially our daycare facilities which are so important to our families here on Fort Riley, it just wouldn't be prudent to do at this time. That creates even more challenges for many of our military families. We understand that, but protecting one another is our top priority.”
    In 2020, there were a number of construction projects and improvements to Fort Riley facilities. Corvias, the housing partner, invested more than $60 million dollars’ worth of upgrades and renovations to 4,000 housing units on post. McKannay said these types of innovations will greatly improve the quality of life for many of the Soldiers and families living on post.
    “We just recently completed renovating 32 homes in our Rimrock neighborhood and 96 new homes are under construction in the Warner Peterson neighborhood,” McKannay said. “The Department of Defense has a tenant satisfaction survey underway right now, and we have certainly encourage our soldiers and families living on Fort Riley to participate in this survey we truly want to know what our soldiers and families, think about housing here on post and how we can make it even better for them.”
    The focus of living improvements is not limited to family housing units. McKannay said new projects are ongoing in single Soldier quarters as well.
    “Because our single Soldiers are also vital to the Army's success, the Army has also invested over $100 million over the last two fiscal years in renovating and upgrading barracks on post,” McKannay said.
    Other facilities on post also were improved, and those included a wide variety of operations including childcare institutions.
    “There have also been improvements to motor pools and child development centers on post.” McKannay said “The work at our child and Child Development Centers include $7.4 million dollars to completely renovate the Warren East Child Development Center. It was an aging facility and when it reopens later this year. It will be a state of the art childcare center with increased capacity. We've also replaced playground equipment at several of our facilities and upgraded the kitchens and many facilities as well. That comes to another $4 million dollars in spending across our child development centers. All these projects get after our priorities of taking care of people, and providing the best facilities, we can for living training and working on Fort Riley.”
    “Is the hospital on post able to take transfers from other hospitals if they are at capacity?” asked Brandon Peoples, 1350 KMAN news director.
    “Irwin Army Community Hospital (IACH) leadership has regular interactions and discussions with the CEOs and directors of other hospitals in the region,” McKannay said.
    The Fort Riley Garrison Commander also acknowledged the importance of support from state and local partners.
    “This is just another in a long list of reasons why I believe Fort Riley is the best place to live, to train to deploy from to come home to and in many cases retire,” McKannay said. “I also want to point out that our partnerships with our surrounding communities, and the support we received in the central Flint Hill Flint Hills region, has a lot to do with why I can say Fort Riley is the best place. The installation would not be what it is without the great relationships and support we have in this region. That is not in small part due to the efforts of local governments, the school districts where our children attend school and to the businesses and organizations that quickly rally around our Soldiers when there's a need. This applies to each community where our Soldiers, families and our civilians live. We consider Fort Riley an important part of the Central Plains and Hill Flint Hills region. It's my strong conviction that Fort Riley is as an important part of the central hills region, and the state of Kansas, as any other community. We are neighbors and partners and I'm proud to be part of this community.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.21.2021
    Date Posted: 01.21.2021 16:51
    Story ID: 387323
    Location: KS, US

    Web Views: 123
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN