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.
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.
Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area: http://www.sillmwr.com
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: http://wichitamountains.fws.gov/