From fire house to Learning Center: Renovations support training effort
April 20, 2010
- If we didn't have this training facility we'd be stuck in conference rooms
- Not only will the Learning Center greatly enable us to move forward with LMP, but also we're working to expand our military training program
- The Learning Center will serve as a prime location for other Blue Grass training needs.
RICHMOND, Ky. - You hear "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition", "Flip this House" or "Divine Design". You think renovation and transformation.
For Blue Grass Army Depot, none of the crews from those shows made an appearance, but a transformation definitely took place in Richmond.
From its days as fire house, building 212 once accommodated all of the depot's fire fighting needs. Building 212 was built in 1942 as a temporary fire house and served the depot well for over sixty years.
Finally in 2004, the depot closed the fire house citing all of its useful life well behind it. Then, an idea: renovate the building's garage into another much needed space--a fully equipped learning center.
Despite a plan to dramatically change the structure, depot leaders possessed the know how to execute the project.
Transforming the former 5,000 square foot 1940s fire house into a facility equipped with computers, video teleconferencing capabilities and other technological amenities required a significant alteration of the floor plan.
According to James Bastin, Blue Grass Army Depot Assistant Fire Chief, the fire house was once equipped with large garage doors, a kitchen and bunking areas for at least a dozen firefighters.
Now, the Learning Center is housed in the former garage. The additional structure once adjacent to the garage was demolished and is not part of the current building.
Moreover, fast forward from renovations to March 25, 2010 when Blue Grass Army Depot officially marked another milestone with the ribbon cutting of the Learning Center.
With all of the comforts a training attendee could want including two separate computer areas, equipping the facility with a total of 40 workstations, the Learning Center provides immediate training benefits to the depot and visiting Soldiers.
Current site of the Logistics Modernization Program expert user training, the Learning Center will specifically meet this requirement until the deployment of the program in fall 2010. The Army is anticipating the unveiling of LMP--its most comprehensive business transformation and technological modernization effort ever.
LMP is a key component in the Army's major transformation to become more responsive, deployable, agile versatile, lethal, survivable and sustainable.
The Learning Center makes the LMP training effort more accessible to Blue Grass's 19 expert users. According to Col. Joseph Tirone, Blue Grass Army Depot commander, without the new facility training would require "more time, energy and funding to coordinate."
"If we didn't have this training facility we'd be stuck in conference rooms. That (would) just make business--normal, everyday mission business--difficult for everybody else.
"This way we can do it, we're out of the way and we can take as much time as we need to execute all the training(s)," said Zachary Zeedyk, Blue Grass Army Depot deployment coordinator.
The second largest employer in Madison County, Blue Grass has recently experienced expansion of capabilities, projects and missions unlike any other time in its history including a newly implemented mortar fin production mission. A facility like the Learning Center further enhances the depot's ability to maintain mission requirements while educating its workforce and visiting Soldiers.
Beyond the fall 2010 deployment of LMP, the Learning Center will serve as a prime location for other Blue Grass training needs.
"Not only will the Learning Center greatly enable us to move forward with LMP, but also we're working to expand our military training program with the classroom technical aspect.
"Three years ago we had approximately 300-500 service members rotate through Blue Grass annually for training. Last year we had approximately 2000--this year we are close to 5000 total," said Tirone.
Blue Grass Army Depot is a subordinate of the Joint Munitions Command headquartered in Rock Island, Ill.
Note: In October 2007 Blue Grass Army Depot fire operations resumed in a new $2.7 million, 13,000 square foot fire house.