The Spirit of Fort Hood Chapel officially completed its campus construction with the opening of the Youth Activity Center and the adjacent Chaplain Family Life Training Center.
Religious leaders of various faith backgrounds toured the facilities following a Thursday ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The entire campus is a $28 million project that covers more than 100,000 square feet, making it the largest spiritual center in the Army, said Col. Bill Phillips, garrison chaplain. At least 100,000 soldiers and family members came through the chapel’s doors last year to participate in various programs and conferences.
Brig. Gen. Charles Bailey, Army deputy chief of chaplains, said he hopes the center has a “very strong” and “dramatic” impact on military families.
“It answers the major issue within the military culture,” Bailey said. “With the return of forces back from the Middle East and areas like that, family structures are really at peril now because (they don’t know) how a healthy family (that’s not deploying) looks like.”
Chaplains at the center, which is only one of three in the Army, offer marriage counseling and other programs to help parents and children learn what a stable family consists of.
“It’s a very crucial time in the history of our Army,” Bailey said. “The Army needs (this center) desperately right now to heal and rejuvenate the forces to get them back into a normal lifestyle and culture that’s healthy.”
The center serves as a central location for the installation’s 13 chapels. The youth center includes a gymnasium with a locker room, a youth lounge, an arts and crafts room and a juice bar.
“We have tons of things going on here. It’s is really unique because there’s nothing in the Army like it,” he said. “It really provides us a great opportunity. Instead of trying to cram kids into a standard activity room, we have a (large) gym.”
Bailey said he’s happy to see the center up and running.
“I’m very excited about what the command has done. It shows that they trust the chaplain corps as part of their resources in order to support their community here,” he said. “We are going to start training our chaplains to meet the needs of the families in the future, not just now.”