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Fort Polk has been selected as one of three installations to be studied by a national panel to determine how it can become a “destination of choice” for incoming military service members, according to officials.

Fort Polk spokesperson Kim Reischling told the American Press that members of the U.S. Army’s Installation Management Command visited the Vernon Parish installation last month to conduct an “Installation Quality of Life Assessment.”

Reischling said the panel gathered information during their visit for the commanding general of IMCOM, as well as the Army Material Command, that could be used to identify areas for improvement at the base.

Their visit including meetings with the soldiers and family members stationed at Fort Polk to get a first-hand account of the issues that matter most to service members.

“This was good news for Fort Polk, and a great opportunity to highlight the things that Fort Polk needs,” Reischling said.

The next step in the process, Reischling said, will be for Fort Polk to create a prioritized list of needs.

Education is expected to be a top item on that list. During a recent meeting of the Beauregard Parish School Board, Garrison Commander Col. Ryan Roseberry addressed the study and told board members that education has been one of the biggest challenges due to the state’s subpar national education rankings.

He said this information often leads to misguided perceptions for potential incoming families, but that after arriving most families are “generally pleased” with their experience in local schools.

Superintendent Timothy Cooley and officials with the Vernon Parish school district have been invited to attend all panel meetings and discussions.

Other items on the list are expected to be family morale, housing, child care, and spouse employment opportunities.

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