State officials announced Monday a successful effort by the U.S. Army to secure a purchase agreement on additional land for Fort Polk and the installation’s Joint Readiness Training Center.

Louisiana supported the Army as it secured an option to buy 4,900 acres, which would allow the Army to expand training at the Leesville-area base in the future, according to a Louisiana Economic Development news release.

The Army expects to complete the purchase by mid-February.

With the exception of state government, Fort Polk is the largest employer in Louisiana, with more than 16,000 military and civilian jobs associated with a U.S. Army installation that generates an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion.

“The Army’s pursuit of this additional acreage for Fort Polk is great news for Central Louisiana and the entire state of Louisiana,” LED Secretary Stephen Moret said in the release. “This property will be a tremendous asset for the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center and a valuable addition to our nation’s defense preparedness. We also are committed to supporting Fort Polk as an economic asset, because Louisiana’s military installations represent a significant portion of the state’s overall economy. In addition to the initial 4,900-acre purchase agreement, we expect an additional 8,000-acre announcement to occur in the near future and we anticipate several more similar announcements throughout the year,” Moret said.

In September, Louisiana announced an investment of $25.3 million in infrastructure improvements in the Fort Polk area over the next three years. Those improvements to transportation routes and utilities will help grow the local economy and maximize conditions to attract more military units to Fort Polk.