By Emily Baker
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD The plans are in, and most of the people who were once upset about what they considered to be inadequate horse stable construction plans are now happy.
"I think this is a win-win solution," said Nicholas Johnsen on Wednesday as he unveiled renovation plans for Fort Hood's Hunt and Saddle Club.
Johnsen, who leads the post's Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation, consolidated suggestions from boarders on how to improve the dilapidated horse stables located southeast of Fort Hood's Main Gate.
The result is a plan the boarders' representatives called a good compromise.
A fixed pot of $506,000 will pay for the renovations. One-third of that will come from the Installation Management Agency-Southwest, which oversees MWR. The other two-thirds will come from MWR profits.
How many stables can be built depends on the contractor, Johnsen said, adding he hopes the management agency sends the construction contract out for bid by May.
The stables will include 12-foot by 12-foot stalls, an upgrade from the hotly contested original 10-foot by 12-foot plan. One wall will be made of cinder blocks that have been reinforced with concrete and steel bars. Two walls and a halfwall windbreak will be made of treated lumber. The windbreak was added from boarders' suggestions.
Feed and tack storage rooms will be 10 feet by 12 feet, made of reinforced cinder blocks and will have a concrete floor.
Electrical outlets will be added outside each storage room and lights will be included in the storage rooms and stalls, cited by the boarders' representatives as one of the best improvements upon the original plans.
"A lot of us work out there at night," said Catherine Levandovsky, one of the representatives.
Fencing style has been disputed, but a three-rail, 5-foot pipe fencing has been chosen for the perimeters of the paddocks, or runs. A fourth rail will be built onto fences between adjoining paddocks to protect horses from each other, which will make the dividing fence 6 feet tall.
Concerns still are being raised about safety and whether children or small horses could slip between the ground and the lowest rail in the fence. Johnsen said a rule that would allow boarders to add panels to close the gaps between rails still is being considered.
"This is a vast improvement," said Sheryl Remick, a representative. "We didn't get everything we wanted, but this is a good compromise."
Boarders also asked for feed windows in walls between the stalls and the storage rooms, but the budget does not include enough money for that feature, Johnsen said.
The Hunt and Saddle Club will have 88 stalls when the renovations are complete.
The facility currently has 78 stalls. The 24 stalls at West Fort Hood's Montague Stables will be closed at an unknown date because they are too rundown to fix, Johnsen said.
Johnsen does not expect $506,000 to be enough for 88 new stalls.
When as many stalls as possible can be built, a decision will be made about what to do with the existing stalls to make 88 stalls total.
Johnsen said he expects to break ground on the stall construction by the end of the year.
Contact Emily Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org