WTB campus construction continues to move ahead
Work continues on the inside of the new WTB barracks building. The barracks building is one of four new buildings in the Fort Hood WTB campus, located across the street from the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Parks, III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs)

FORT HOOD, Texas - The first building at the new Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade campus is now open for business. Soldiers, cadre and civilian employees in Companies A and B, and members of the unit's command staff, recently moved into the first of four buildings in the consolidated location.

Lieutenant Col. Mark Black, commander of 1st Battalion, WTB, said the rest of the buildings are nearing completion, and Soldiers and staff will begin moving into those facilities in the coming months. The other buildings include brand new barracks, another headquarters building for two additional companies and a new Soldier and Family Assistance Center.

"We expect in March that the SFAC building will come online, the company headquarters will be in April and the barracks will be in May or June timeframe," Black said. "So by mid-summer 2012, we expect to be fully involved and fully occupying all the buildings here."

He said the new HQ building is updated and is a pleasant place to work, but beyond the new construction, the facility shows just how important wounded warriors and their Family members are in the Army community.

"By building this complex … this is a very tangible and real example of the Army's continuing commitment to its wounded, injured and ill Soldiers," he said. "It makes a statement to the nation and to our Soldiers and Families when they see it."

Currently, the WTB facility footprint stretches across portions of Fort Hood, with barracks, offices and the SFAC clustered together in different sections of the installation. Black added that the consolidated location could be a literal lifesaver to members of the Fort Hood WTB.

"It allows us to consolidate all four companies and all of our billeting facilities in one location, in proximity right across the street from the hospital and all the specialty clinics that our Soldiers require, and then lastly, the SFAC is right here," he added.

"Really, by next summer, some of the challenges we have with being dispersed … those challenges will be solved. So we're really pleased and blessed," Black said.

While pictures and decorations have yet to be added to the walls and footsteps still echo down hallways in the new building, the Soldiers and staff who work in the facility said they have nothing but praise for the continuing progress, and the new building.

"It's great," Capt. Jose DaCunha, Co. A commander, 1st Bn., WTB, said. "It's an opportunity for us to all be together."

He added, "We were close together before, but now we're closer and that becomes very important. It allows us to have access to each other when an issue arises."

"It underscores the fact that from the Army's standpoint, this is an enduring mission," Black said. "It's not going away."

Both Black and DaCunha said Soldiers and unit leaders were eagerly anticipating the opening of the new barracks. Work is moving ahead rapidly on the interior of the facility, which features apartment style living with two-bedroom, two-bathroom units and two-bedroom, one-bathroom units. The barracks have rooms available to house more than 300 wounded warriors.

"On the bottom floor, 32 of the rooms are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) friendly, then 32 of the rooms are fully ADA-compliant. They're really state of the art," Black said.

Andy Bury, a project engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers, Fort Worth District, said watching the construction progress at Fort Hood has been exciting.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said. "You see it go from an idea to the actual user move in and use the facility, so it's pretty fulfilling."

With the first of four move-ins completed, the future is bright at the new campus for the Fort Hood WTB, currently the largest WTB in the Army, according to unit leaders.

"It makes a tremendous difference, and it's a positive difference," DaCunha said.

Page last updated Wed November 30th, 2011 at 16:21