Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today three grants from the Office of Economic Adjustment, including a $25 million grant to the Texas Department of Transportation to improve access to the San Antonio Military Medical Center; a $7.3 million grant to the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration to improve access to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md.; and a $37,134,368 grant to Lawton Public Schools, Lawton, Okla. to replace two old elementary schools on Fort Sill with a single new school.
The grant to Texas will be used to build a new direct connector bridge between Interstate 35 and Interstate Loop 410, demolish the existing bridge, build new entrance and exit ramps for the San Antonio Military Medical Center, and complete all related improvements. The project will improve access to the Medical Center, facilitating a safer and easier commute for patients, military service members, and civilian employees. San Antonio Military Medical Center serves a Department of Defense beneficiary population of over 230,000 in the Greater San Antonio area. In 2010 alone, the San Antonio Medical Center scheduled over 3.8 million medical appointments through an array of inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory services. Texas Department of Transportation will carry out this project in cooperation with the City of San Antonio and the Federal Highway Administration’s Texas Division. Groundbreaking for the project may commence once all environmental requirements have been met.
The grant to Maryland will be used to construct the Maryland Route 187 (Old Georgetown Road) and West Cedar Lane/Oakmont Avenue intersection project that adds an exclusive right-turn lane on westbound West Cedar Lane, adds an exclusive right-turn lane on northbound Maryland Route 187 south of West Cedar Lane/Oakmont Avenue, and upgrades the intersection and sidewalks to comply with Americans with Disability Act and other requirements. The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission increased personnel at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by almost one-third to 10,200 and doubled the Medical Center’s visitor load to1,000,000 per year. Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration will carry out this project in cooperation with Montgomery County, Md., the nearby National Institutes of Health, and the Federal Highway Administration’s DelMar Division.
Funding for the two transportation grants is provided under the $300 million program authorized by Section 8110 of Public Law 112-10, the DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, which enabled DoD to finance projects for transportation infrastructure improvements associated with medical facilities related to the 2005 round of the Base Closure and Realignment process. In November 2011, OEA selected the projects to apply for these funds after a panel comprised of Defense and Transportation officials reviewed concepts to improve access to medical facilities across the nation.
Lawton Public Schools will manage a $45,215,368 project, consisting of $37,134,368 grant funds and a non-Federal share of $8,081,000 from the school district, to demolish the existing Sheridan Road and Geronimo Road Elementary Schools and replace them with a single new 1400-student Freedom Elementary School on Fort Sill. This award will remedy capacity and facility condition deficiencies that placed Sheridan Road and Geronimo Road Elementary Schools as the third and twelfth schools on the July 2011 deputy secretary of defense “Public Schools on Military Installations Priority List”. Lawton Public Schools currently lease land from the Army for its Fort Sill schools, and will own, operate, and maintain the newly constructed school. This well-established relationship will help to ensure the success of the project. Groundbreaking for the new school may commence once all environmental requirements have been met.
The school funding is from the $500 million program authorized by Section 8109 of Public Law 112-10, DoD and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, and Section 8118 of Public Law 112-74, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, to construct, renovate, repair or expand public schools located on military installations. The Office of Economic Adjustment, in making the school funds available, must give priority consideration to those military installations with schools having the most serious capacity or facility condition deficiencies, as determined by the priority list. A multi-disciplined Federal Evaluation Team, with membership from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, the Military Services, U.S. Department of Education, and Office of Economic Adjustment reviewed the school project to ensure the award appropriately addresses the noted capacity and facility condition deficiencies.