Artillery Village goes down with a bang

FORT SILL--After housing soldiers and their families for over 50 years, Fort Sill's venerable and somewhat infamous Artillery Village is now facing the wrecking ball.

According to the Fort Sill Housing Office, 408 families have been moved from the Village to new quarters around Post, specifically the new Patriot Village visible from I-44.

"It's something we've never done before," said BJ Gholson of the Fort Sill Housing Office.  "We've torn down one or two buildings because of fire or whatever, but we've never done 408 of them.  This is a big project."

The demoltion of Artillery Village began last year after families began moving to the new Patriot Village in September.  Gholson said the demolition is expected to be all wrapped up by May.

The project is not BRAC related and was, in fact, planned as far back as 1997, but securing approval from Congress and the Army took nearly a decade.

"One of the toughest things to do is to receive approval for an Army housing project," Gholson said.  "Not only do we need the Post's approval, but we also need to get the go-ahead from the Army and Congress."

Artillery Village housed 500 families and while 408 were relocated 92 families will remain.  Their houses are the ones closest to the school, and many of them are three bedroom homes that will be turned into more spacious two bedroom homes.

As for what will become of the land the Village currently sits on, Gholson said there are no concrete plans that she knows of for future land use.  Any such decisions would have to be approved by the Garrison Commander, Fort Sill Department of Public Works, and the Post's master planner.