Wave of renovations, improvements sweeps through
February 6, 2009
SCHWEINFURT, Germany -- While improvements, renovations and upgrades have defined the landscape on Schweinfurt military installations constantly for the past several years, one group of current projects marks something new on the horizon.
The Mannheim, Germany-based 7th Signal Brigade and its subordinate 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) are scheduled to relocate to Schweinfurt this year, the Army announced in 2008, and the dust and signs of renovation on Ledward Barracks mean the welcome mat is on the way.
"We're trying to make it home for them. We're trying to improve the facilities to make them comfortable when they get here," said Robin Fisher, deputy director of the U.S. Army Garrison Schweinfurt Directorate of Public Works (DPW).
When the Army announced the re-stationing, plans for moving a battalion headquarters into building 215 on Ledward Barracks hit the brakes and shifted to the design and creation of a brigade headquarters instead.
"Before we knew these units were coming, we had a project on the books to fix that building," said Fisher, who added that such maneuvering is common with planning and utilizing installation space.
"It's a complete renovation. You wouldn't recognize the building," Fisher said of the future brigade headquarters, which once housed personnel, finance and in-and-out processing offices.
Just down the road on Ledward Barracks, the 44th ESB will be the third - and likely final - unit to hang its hat in building 213 in a year.
"The buildings that they're moving into are going to be strictly dedicated to them, and they will stay there. That will be their home," Fisher said.
"We want to have it ready for them as soon as they get here," in the spring, according to Fisher, who is pleased with the project's progression.
While motor pools and maintenance bays are also being tailored to fit the incoming units, workers are putting the finishing touches on three Soldiers' barracks buildings across the street from the battalion headquarters.
"This is sort of a general facelift," that includes painting, lights, flooring, and minor maintenance, according to Fisher.
The DPW housing office is prepared to offer options to Soldiers who are bringing families, according to Sharan Dockery, housing office manager.
"We've got a couple options," for providing housing, Dockery said. "As soon as we can assign housing to them, we're going to let them have it."
For example, she and her staff have already begun to plan with their counterparts in the USAG Bamberg to receive families with high school-aged children.
"We're looking forward to having them here," Dockery said.