Kuhn Hall sets model for education and resiliency

On any given day, the rooms at Kuhn Hall are filled with people completing college courses in cybersecurity, building skills needed to gain military promotions, cooking nutritious meals, receiving family counseling, or learning how to foster physical and mental wellness among the people they lead.

One year after it opened its doors, the Fort Meade Education and Resiliency Center is exceeding expectations of how it could help members of the Fort Meade community.

The $5.4 million renovation of the historic Kuhn Hall was funded through a years-long campaign by the Fort Meade Alliance Foundation in order to create a modern, centralized, welcoming hub for education and resiliency services on post.

“This building presented us with a great opportunity,” said Rodney Anderson, Education Services Specialist with the Fort Meade Education Center.

Previously, Fort Meade lacked the facilities to offer college courses on post. The Basic Skills Education Program (BSEP) was conducted on post but in makeshift, temporary and sometimes less-than-desirable spaces.

The opening of the Education and Resiliency Center meant the start of regular, on-post classes by Anne Arundel Community College and University of Maryland Global Campus. Dedicated classroom space spurred heightened enrollment in BSEP while a modern testing center supported key examinations, including the Armed Forces Certification Test, the Defense Language Proficiency Test and certification tests in Information Technology and project management. And education services leaders are exploring options to bring in other colleges and further expand classes onsite.

Kuhn Hall presented immediate and expansive opportunities for outside-the-fence organizations to provide much-needed education and resiliency services on post, ranging from career training to art therapy sessions to job fairs. Working with the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County, FMA will soon employ a person dedicated to expanding community services to members of the Fort Meade community.

The center also created an opportunity for personnel attached to all 120 agencies on post to tap into services.

“Everybody who has a Permanent Change of Station to Fort Meade, is obligated to come through Kuhn Hall as part of their in-processing and talk with an Army Community Services representative about the resiliency services at Fort Meade,” said Tim O’Ferrall, General Manager of the Fort Meade Alliance.

That combination of education and resiliency services in a centralized hub “makes Kuhn Hall quite unique in the Army’s inventory of facilities,” said Reginald Tim Battle, Chief of Army Education Services for the National Capital Region. “It makes Fort Meade stand out as an installation that is really forward thinking and taking into account the resiliency needs of all members of the community, especially those warfighters who need help to manage stress. We are very happy to be partnering with such a unique and outstanding facility.”

In just 12 months, Kuhn Hall has made an impression well beyond the Fort Meade fence line.

“Shortly after Kuhn Hall opened, Fort Meade was named one of the five Great American Defense Communities,” O’Ferrall said. “There is an awareness that we have created a new model for education and resiliency.”

To date, seven other installation commanders have come to Fort Meade to tour the hall and learn about its programming. And in November, the wife of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will tour the facility.

“In just a year, the Kuhn Hall Education and Resiliency Center has become the place on Fort Meade for our community to grow stronger together,” said COL Michael A. Sapp, Garrison Commander. “That’s no small feat considering we had to bring together so many different organizations to provide services in this unique place. I want to thank the Fort Meade Alliance for its continued support as well as our Army Community Services and Education Center teams for their flexibility and can-do attitude. Thanks to them, this first year has been a great success, and I’m really excited for what we’ll be able to do here in the future.”