MCOE: To be fully operational by September 2011
Work continues on an initial entry training battalion complex at Harmony Church.

Fort Benning, Ga. - The Army's chief engineer got an update on the future Maneuver Center of Excellence and toured several facilities during a recent visit to Fort Benning.

LTG Robert L. Van Antwerp, commanding general for the Army Corps of Engineers, said projects now under construction are either ahead of or on schedule to meet deadlines within Base Realignment and Closure initiatives.

"We are keeping a very close eye on BRAC projects supporting the MCOE and move of the Armor School to Fort Benning," he said. "There is great progress being made in the construction currently ongoing. We are getting great bids enabling the Maneuver Center of Excellence to get full scope on their projects.

"I was particularly pleased with the progress in barracks, family housing and the new headquarters facility."

In the next four years, the post is scheduled to complete $3.5 billion in construction, most of it aimed at creating the MCOE, which will merge Fort Benning's Infantry Center with the Armor Center and School from Fort Knox, Ky. It's set to become fully operational by September 2011.

A total of $1 billion in construction is under way and another $1 billion in projects will be awarded to contractors by year's end.

On July 16, COL Frederick Wolf, the deputy garrison commander for transformation, briefed Van Antwerp on MCOE developments.

"We laid out the impact the Maneuver Center of Excellence is going to have on Fort Benning and the timeline for when the facilities will be ready for those units," Wolf said. "It's critical for us to be prepared for the Armor School to be able to train here in two years. We re-emphasized the importance of that program. He supports that and is confident his team is going to be able to deliver."

When awarding future military construction contracts, Fort Benning officials want to include provisions allowing for better integration of furnishings, equipment and furniture into buildings and facilities, Wolf said, adding the general pledged to help coordinate such arrangements.

"That would help us deliver a fully functional facility," Wolf said. "It will be an easier turnover for the end user."

Van Antwerp said all new facilities across the installation are being built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver standards, incorporating sustainability and environmental measures into the engineering and construction.

"I was very impressed by how the MCOE has organized for mission success," he said. "They have already worked a number of 'virtual' organizational changes to take advantage of the Infantry and Armor synergies."

The Corps is managing its largest military construction program ever, said DeDe Cordell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington.
Between fiscal years 2006 and 2013, it will execute $67.5 billion in military construction, including $44.6 billion for the Army.

"To meet the Army's construction demand, the Corps is transforming its military construction delivery process," she said. "This will allow the Corps to provide quality, adaptable and sustainable facilities in 30 percent less time and at 15 percent lower cost."

Cordell said that is being accomplished through improved master planning, a more reliable funding system, using all types of construction techniques and expanding manufactured building solutions.

Under the streamlined process, facilities will have a service life of 50 years, she said.
Vince.Little@us.army.mil

Page last updated Fri July 24th, 2009 at 11:40