19th Engineers break ground on Caruso youth sports expansion | Article


19th engineers break ground on the Caruso youth sports field expansion project








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(from left) Fort Knox Youth Sports & Fitness Director Ryan Lewis, 19th Engineer Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Todd Bradford, and Fort Knox Garrison Commander Col. Lance O’Bryan shovels some dirt on the newest section of the Caruso Youth Sports and Fitness Center Jan. 23, 2023. Engineers from the 15th Engineer Construction Company will level the ground and prepare it for turf in the next month. Officials expect the entire project to be completed by the spring of 2024.
(Photo credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News)

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19th engineers break ground on the Caruso youth sports field expansion project








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Several engineers from the 15th Engineer Construction Company and others were present at the cold winter groundbreaking.
(Photo credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News)

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19th engineers break ground on the Caruso youth sports field expansion project








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Project and company leaders also participated in breaking ground on the Caruso expansion project.
(Photo credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News)

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FORT KNOX, Ky. — Commanders from Fort Knox and the 19th Engineer Battalion pulled the tarmac between the Caruso Youth Sports and Fitness Complex and Wilson Road on Jan. 23, officially marking the beginning of an expansion project expected to provide more options for sports youth

The project, which had been stalled for more than a decade due to a series of shifting funding priorities and the pandemic, is now moving forward thanks in part to leaders at 19th providing the muscle, according to Fort Knox family and Confidence, Welfare and Recreation Officers.

“It was going to cost about $750,000,” said Rayceil Oggs, director of Fort Knox Child & Youth Services. “It’s going to be a big save now.”

Oggs explained that they started looking for money for the expansion project in 2010, but that money is no longer available. Ryan Lewis, director of Youth Sports & Fitness, said interest in expanding the Caruso range returned in 2017, but several problems delayed the project.

“They had practice, then we had COVID, and then it wasn’t a priority,” Lewis said. “We always just needed [soil moving and leveling] work to do. Once the job is done, those other items, like the fence, will fall into place.”

During the ceremony, Lewis explained to those in attendance that Caruso needed an extension for a few reasons.

“We can’t put all our kids on this property,” Lewis said. “I know it’s huge, it’s great, but this is only for older kids. The main demographic we serve is younger children 9 years and under, and these areas are too big for them. “


19th engineers break ground on the Caruso youth sports field expansion project








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The Engineer Battalion Commander of the 19th Lt. Col. Todd Bradford addresses the crowd before breaking ground on the project.
(Photo credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News)

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19th engineers break ground on the Caruso youth sports field expansion project








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(Photo credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News)

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19th engineers break ground on the Caruso youth sports field expansion project








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Fort Knox Youth Sports & Fitness Director Ryan Lewis explains what he wanted when he took over in 2017: to complete the expansion project so Fort Knox youth could play in the same place.
(Photo credit: Eric Pilgrim, Fort Knox News)

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Youth sports are divided into two groups, with the older youth playing at Caruso, and the younger children playing elsewhere around the installation. Lewis said the expansion project, when completed, will not only give the younger kids more room to play sports at Caruso, but will allow all the youth to be in one place medium

The earth moving work has fallen into the hands of the 15th Engineer Construction Company, under the command of Captain Kevin Erkkila. He started the ceremony and took part in moving some of the first soil with a shovel at the end.

Barring weather problems, the 19th is expected to be done with their part in about two weeks, according to Oggs. Then once funding comes in for the fence, she said they tentatively plan to open the Caruso extension sometime in the spring of 2024.

The commander of the 19th, Lt. Col. Todd Bradford, that he is happy with the relationship that his unit has created and that he maintains with the leadership of Garrison and FMWR.

“I think it’s important to structure this as a starting point, but not just a starting point for this building project,” Bradford said, “but also a starting point for more building projects in the future.”

After the groundbreaking ceremony, Fort Knox Garrison Commander, Colonel Lance O’Bryan praised the 19th for their work in building Castle Lake, which is expected to be opened for recreation in the spring, and to go up again to lend much needed help to the installation. for this project.

“I’m really proud of what you do,” O’Bryan said. “At the end of the day, there isn’t another unit that puts more back into this installation than you, and I just want to thank you for that.”

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