The first Army chapel built in a decade has opened at Fort Belvoir.

The $5 million, 20,000-square-foot facility replaces three chapels, including two traditional white chapels built during World War II to serve mostly single soldiers at the post for training.

The 16-room chapel includes a worship area that can hold 600 people and a nursery, kitchen, multipurpose room and classrooms, some wired for Internet access. Maj. Gary Studniewski, the post's chaplain, said the Main Post Chapel would be a prototype for chapels built by the Army.

Because the chapel, at 1801 Wright Rd., is close to new housing developments, the dining facility and the hospital, Studniewski said, it will help promote a tight-knit community.

"People will feel much more connected here, not only in the worship area but also in the gathering spaces," he told the Belvoir Eagle.

The chapel holds Catholic and gospel services. Because of restricted access, services generally are limited to members of the military and retirees, Defense Department civilians, contractors and others with appropriate credentials. The public can attend but must go through a rigorous screening that includes a vehicle search and a request for proof of insurance.

Worshipers enter the new Army chapel at Fort Belvoir. The $5 million, 20,000-square-foot facility is the Army's first new chapel in a decade.Above, church leaders open a service. At right, Kendrick Grimsley plays during the service. The chapel holds Catholic and gospel services.