|By F.M. Wiggins, The Progress-Index,
Petersburg, Va.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 24, 2012--FORT LEE -- Fort Lee is expanding which hotels can be used for housing soldiers who train here. A requirement that the hotels must have interior hallways will be dropped.
Members of the community were invited out to Fort Lee last week to hear about changes the military has made to its lodging program in the area.
A new request for proposals will soon be sent out and interested hotels and motels can submit bids to become part of the post's Lodging Success Program.
"We'll re-solicit the RFP probably at the end of the month," said Rich Gorman, with the Installation Management Command.
Soldiers who come to post for temporary training, such as at the Army Logistics University, are assigned a room in either on-post lodging or a hotel off post that is part of the program.
Gorman said that the existing contract is insufficient to meet the needs of Fort Lee.
But that will change once a new hotel on post opens. The hotel should serve up to 1,000 people. Gorman said that will reduce the need for outside support. "Once it opens, approximately 50 percent of the demand will be accommodated on post," Gorman said. "But we're on the cusp of a major change in the Army."
Gorman said that the Army is also going to be reducing the force from 572,000 to 490,000 soldiers by 2017. "Right now the total demand is for 3,000 rooms a night, but six months, a year from now, it could be totally different," Gorman said.
Garrison Commander Col. Rodney Edge said that the meeting was designed to provide answers to questions that arose out of a meeting held Feb. 27 to discuss the lodging plan for the post, particularly in anticipation of the opening of the 1,000-room hotel on post.
"One of the things that I promised was that we would get back to you with data and the latest factual data," Edge said.
In February those who came to the meeting were made aware of the hotel on post and the 16 hotels that are part of the Lodging Success Program.
- F.M. Wiggins may be reached at 732-3456, ext. 3254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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