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Ft Sill Army Post Review

Your Name:

Sarah

Base Name:

Fort Sill

Base Location:

Fort Sill, OK is just north of Lawton, OK. The nearest big cities are Oklahoma City, OK to the northeast (85 miles) and Wichita Falls, TX to the south (50 miles).

How long have you been here?

January 2010 – April 2010

We lived here while my husband was in BOLCIII training.

What is housing like? On-post? (waiting list, conditions, etc.) Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?

We live on-post in Academic Heights. The buildings in this neighborhood are historic and are all completely beautiful. O1-O3 housing here are in quadplexes and have 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, sunroom, attic, basement, and detached garage. There are wood floors throughout. There is plenty of storage space, big windows, high ceilings, molding, and a fireplace.

The only problem with the historic housing is the level of noise in the building. We don’t have a problem with noise at all, though we can hear our downstairs neighbors. Our neighbors think we are horrible, loud people and have complained to housing as well as to us on multiple occasions. If you are sensitive to sound, it may be best to stay away from these historic places.

We had to wait one month to get housing. There is currently no temporary lodging on post, so we had to stay at a hotel. (The Hampton Inn is the only acceptable place to stay in Lawton. All of the other places we saw were dumps. In addition, every hotel is overpriced for the area.)

Under no condition were we going to live off-post. Lawton is not great and is full of cash advance places, pawn shops, and seedy neighborhoods. Being a family, it is best to live either on post, or far away from Lawton.

Rate the PX & Commissary:

I hate going into the PX and rarely go there. It is inside a mall with lots of fast food places and a few small shops. My husband gets his hair cut inside the mall. If I need something at the PX, I will drive in my car to Walmart instead (on  Quannah Parker Trail only – the Sheridan Road Walmart is full of homeless people). I also hate Walmart, but living in OK, there aren’t too many options.

The Commissary is fine. Sometimes their produce is good, and sometimes it looks terrible. I can find my staples for the week there. If I need any specialty items I order them online, or drive to Oklahoma City to go to a specialty market there. The Commissary and Walmart tend to carry different items, so it is good to check out both places.

The best part about the Commissary and the PX is that I can walk there from my house! Whenever I need just a few things at the store, I put the kids in the stroller and go for a nice walk (about 1 mile).

Activities on base:

Fort Sill “Zoo” – It is not actually a real zoo, but it has two deer, two fox, two bobcats, some raccoons, a few turkeys, pigeons, doves, and turtles. It is about 1.5 miles away from my house and the kids love to go there. There is also a classroom and exhibits room there, but I have not seen it open yet.

Field Artillery Horses – There are lots of wonderful horses you can visit and see galloping around post. The kids love them, and if their handlers are there, they will come over and let you pet them. Their corral is only a 1.5 mile walk from my house.

Geronimo’s Grave – A great scenic walk (3 miles from my house) takes you past training grounds and to the grave of Geronimo and other notable Native Americans and officers who lost their lives near Fort Sill.

Library – A great library nearby with a children’s playroom and daily playgroup (near the Commissary).

Martha Songbird Park – A small park with trails. There is some signage about native plants and animals. It is great since it is nearby (1/2 mile walk from my house), stroller accessible, and just lots of fun.

Lots of Big Guns – All over post there are guns, tanks, etc. We love walking around looking at all of these big guns.

Field Artillery Museum – A brand new museum that is clean, small, and can be seen in under an hour. It is great to see at least once and there are a few exhibits interesting to everyone, including little kids.

Fort Sill Museum – Much of post is filled with historic buildings, and this museum showcases some of these buildings. The buildings are beautiful and are mixed into the neighborhoods where people live today.

Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area – All I can say is… wow! LETRA has a beautiful lake with boat rentals, swimming, a water slide, and even brand-new cabins to rent.

Playgrounds – There are just so many playgrounds, and they all are great. Some are completely shaded with trees (Ambrosia Springs Park), and some are completely handicapped accessible (near the housing office). Each playground has something wonderful and unique about it.

3-mile Track – A track that even my two-year-old will walk on! There are a few playgrounds on it that keeps the kids motivated to keep walking. There are ponds inside the track and we have spotted lots of Canada Geese.

Things to do in the area:

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge – We all love going here, and I can’t say enough good things about it. There are beautiful trails, small lakes everywhere, dams, and small mountains. We have seen buffalo, longhorn cattle, turtles, and prairie dogs. (We haven’t seen elk yet, but heard they are there.) In the prairie dog area, you can walk around amongst them – it is amazing! Going to the top of Mt. Scott is a nice adventure with wonderful views.

School System:

My daughter goes to Geronimo Road Elementary School, and is not having a pleasant experience. Her day consists of numerous worksheets, and that is it. There is no art class and music class is very limited. I am very disappointed in her school, though I have heard of other parents being happy with that particular school, depending on the teacher. If I had to stay here, I would send her to private school.

I have heard parents talking about how terrible the junior and senior high schools are. Besides what they have told me, I really don’t know anything about them. I know of parents who home-school their kids because they don’t want them to attend the schools here.  A lot of children are home-schooled, but I don’t know if any more are home-schooled compared to other military posts.

Any colleges in area:

Cameron University is in Lawton. It is very small, but seems to be growing and is constructing some new buildings. There is no college-town feel around it.

Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city:

I love being and living on post. If this post was somewhere else in the country, I don’t think I would ever want to move.  Being on post, you feel a sense of history around you. There are these lovely old buildings everywhere, and huge green trees. There are many creeks and ditches twisting and turning throughout the post. There are deer and fox running around. I feel like I can walk anywhere and have a great time just being at home and on post.

Least favorite aspect:

The horribleness of Lawton and the rest of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City has some nice parts, but there is a 1.25 hour drive involved to get there. I feel like I am away from civilization.

Local websites:

Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area: http://www.sillmwr.com

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: http://wichitamountains.fws.gov/

About the author: This article was contributed by a visitor to the site. If you would like to contribute to the site as well, please email me.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Sheryl October 20, 2011, 9:28 pm

    Thought it was interesting review. We lived at Fort Sill for 5 years and moved away for two. We are headed back and planning on moving into Academic Heights. Good info on the homes. I also worked at Geronimo Road Elementary which has a decent autism program. I have very good memories of my kids childhood at Fort Sill. We lived on post in Artillery Village which has been torn down and then onto “new” housing for a few years. There are several parks and a new water splash park. We spent our summers swimming and that was fine with us. We enjoyed our friendships there. I now have a jr higher and am considering a Christian school in town. There are a few great Christian alternative schools that aren’t overly dogmatic, but good places to put your kids. Two of my children attended Sheridan Road and it was very high on academic standards. My kids have done great there and when we moved they were advanced compared to the other children their grade level.

  • rouella November 29, 2011, 6:04 pm

    @ms. sheryl. You mention about the autism program at Geronimo. We have orders to move to Ft. Sill next year. My son is Autistic but highly functional one of my fear is moving him to a new school, we are currently at Ft. Carson and they have a great school here for him. And he is taking up ABA theraphy where His therapist come to see him at school and at home. I wonder if you know any programs that will be the same as what he has. He also has blood problems and asthma. i wonder how the housing would be in the efmp side? Since he was diagnose we move twice already and never had a problme getting a priority housing because of his condition. Pls. tell me more about the base and what will be good for us. Thank you for your help.

    • Liz February 12, 2012, 10:15 am

      This site is a god sent for me! Thank you!

      We too may be moving to Ft. Sill in the summer. Our son is diagnosed with PDDNOS, so on the autistic spectrum, and my main concern about moving to Sill is the noise level from the artillery and violent storms. It sounds like other autistic children are there since the elementary school has a decent program, but if the noise is too stimulating for my son, I’m not sure any program is going to be good enough. Also, after looking at housing off base, it looks like our only real option is living on base. My husband is a 04, what kind of housing is there? Thanks in advance for any insights you can share.

  • Jeanine February 29, 2012, 2:56 am

    We’ve been stationed at Fort Sill for almost 16 years, 13 of it living on post, and the place grows on you. Coming from Nevada where we have to drive 100 miles to get to the nearest city life isn’t so bad here we’ve enjoyed Oklahoma there’s plenty to do if you know where to look and yes, the nearest big city is OKC and it’s an hours drive away, but so what you’re in the heartland and open space is what’s here. Enjoy the wilderness at the refuge, plus there’s museums, parks and a bounty of other sites in Lawton and all over the state not to mention the surrounding towns, lots to do. The school district here is awesome our three sons all have Asperger’s Syndrome and the programs they have available at Geronimo Road Elementary School on post are wonderful and you get the kind of support from the teachers and staff you wont see or get at the city level, I know first hand from previous experience… Lawton is is ok not too big it kinda grows on you after awhile and the people are very friendly. There are several housing areas on post for enlisted the newset is Buffalo Soldier Estates for E6 and above however, Patriot Estates, where we live, is around 6 years old we love our new house it’s huge compared to the one we use to live in at Artillery Village, they bulldozed most of those homes 6 years ago, Then there’s Geronimo Acres plus another housing area towards the back portion of the base for enlisted, the officer’s housing is located in various areas around post.

  • Jeanine February 29, 2012, 2:57 am

    Hi Sheryl glad you’re back we’ve missed you.. 😀

  • Melissa Diaz June 3, 2012, 3:36 pm

    Hi, we have orders to go to Ft Sill this summer. I have 5 kids ages 22, 18, 13, 11 & 5, so good schools to know of for middle school & high school would also be great (do they offer magnet schools targeted to the job field the kids want to pursue?), as well as good housing areas & info for our large family (hubby’s an E-5). How is the Youth Center and after school program? Do the kids enjoy the programs that the Youth Center and SAC offer, etc.? What about nice restaurants for a date night? My oldest kids want to know if Rue 21 is there? We are coming from Germany, so we don’t have many American options here & they are looking forward to having them there, where I am apprehensive about crime, compared to the practically non-existent rate here. THANK YOU!!!!

  • LaGayla June 11, 2012, 11:29 am

    Hi Melissa. I am 29 years old and I am originally from Lawton. I didnt attend Eisenhower Middle School , but I did graduate from Eisenhower High School and it had a great honor’s and AP program. I think MacArthur and Eisenhower are the best schools at preparing children for college, but honestly, any of them will be adequate if you seek assistance from the administration, and all of them usually have at least one National Merit Scholar every year. As far as elementary schools go, I attended St. Mary’s Catholic School forever ago, although my family isn’t Catholic, but my 7-year old daughter has attended there for the last 4 years and she has progressed quite well. When she was in Kindergarten, I went to one of the public schools in town (in the middle of the school year) to compare the curriculum. It was incomparable. At the time, my daughter was studying basic addition and subtraction. In the class, I visited, the teacher told me they were working on counting to 100. And their goal for the end of the school year was to count backwards from 100. The advanced students in the class were reading 3 and 4 letter words, but they were mostly working on phonics and learning the alphabet.

    I understand that Kindergarten is the first year of school for most students, so this information would right on track, but I think children could absorb the information at a quicker pace if they are challenged. of course, at the private schools, the classes are usually a third smaller, so that would make a difference in the amount of attention the teacher can give.

    Our mall sucks. It shouldnt even be called a mall. Of course, I like to shop, so I would care, but if you need something, you can usually find it around here. And like people have mentioned, we are close to Oklahoma City and Wichita Falls. Dallas is 2.5 hours away. We do have a RUE 21 though!!!

    There are a lot of things to do here if you search them out, museums, plays, sports, and youth activites. Cameron University, the Lawton Community Theater, and Fort Sill usually have activities going on. You can check out the MWR site and Chamber of Commerce (?) for events. McMahon Auditorium is small but there is usually a play, musical, recital or some kind of show at least every other weekend. In some ways, I like the small town feel of Lawton, but I have been all over the country and to other countries, so I dont feel I am lacking anything by not living in a big city. There are a lot of events in OKC, and of course, the OKC Thunder, but to me, for as often as I “go out”, it is all the same to me to live here and visit there from time to time.

    oh, and unfortunately, our restaurants are just ok. we have an olive garden, red lobster, chilis, applebees, outback, sante fe, kobe japanese steakhouse, chain places like that. and a few mom and pop kind of places, but nowhere really FANCY. when i want to go somewhere like that, those are the time i would go to okc. even if i just want cheesecake factory, it’s nice to visit one of the malls in OKC and then hit that restaurant. It’s right in the parking lot of penn square mall. 🙂 I hope this helps

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