Post organizations on the move
June 2, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Finding a unit or organization on Fort Jackson these days may not be as easy as looking at a post map. A flurry of construction and renovation projects has led to a number of relocations " some of them necessitated by the need for more space, others by required renovations.
“We try to put the right people in the right building,” said Michael Hipp, Fort Jackson’s master planner with the Directorate of Public Works.
Steve Pinette, deputy G-3, said that the relocation process is complicated because it involves so many “moving parts.”
The post holds a biweekly realignment working group that consists of nearly a dozen representatives from across the post to keep them up-to-date on the various moves, and also to allow input.
Pinette’s said part of his job is to “define everybody's needs from their wants.”
Army regulation and funding dictate much of what goes into relocations, Pinette said.
Some of the major moves that have already taken place this year include two Basic Combat Training battalions (1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment), several directorates (such as the Directorate of Logistics and the Directorate of Garrison Resource Management to Building 3295; and the Network Enterprise Center to the former Hood Street School building) and other organizations (American Red Cross to Building 9810 and Vehicle Registration to Building 4394).
Upcoming relocations include the Warrior Transition Unit and Soldier and Family Assistance Center to Building 9810 and the Judge Advocate General office to Building 2600.
One of the long-term goals is to consolidate similar functions in the same geographical area, Hipp said. The plan calls for all Basic Combat Training units to move north of Strom Thurmond Boulevard. One example is the upcoming move of the 165th Infantry Brigade headquarters from Magruder Avenue to the former Judge Advocate General building on Kershaw Road, which is scheduled for August.
Moving organizations and units often causes a domino effect, forcing the current occupants to find new space. Hipp said one of the biggest challenges is to weigh the pros and cons of all possible options.
“There are like a thousand different ways to solve a problem,” he said. “And everybody has a different idea, and many of them are good.”
Hipp added that often plans are changed because of unforeseen situational changes like new mission requirements or unexpected facility repairs.
“A lot of times ... We’re heading down a certain path and we have to change that plan because facts change,” Hipp said. “Some folks think that we’re just not planning whenever that happens. That’s not the case. It’s just that we have to react to whatever gets tossed in front of us.”
Once an organization moves out of an older building, the building must be “reset,” meaning it must undergo whatever renovations are necessary to get it up to standard.
Part of that process also includes having staff members from Moncrief Army Community Hospital’s Preventive Medicine department come in to inspect the air quality. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning and lights, must meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.
Even getting rid of old furniture requires proper coordination through the post’s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Offices.
“You can’t just pick up and move,” Pinette said. “(And) you can’t just take furniture and throw it in the dump.”
What is most important, he said, is that relocations do not affect the post’s mission.
“We have to do this so that it doesn’t stop training for these 65,000 Soldiers,” he said.