316th Engineer Company commander joins City of Chattanooga leaders for Reserve center grand opening
December 5, 2011
CHATTANOOGA Tenn.-Nearly a year after the 316th Engineer Company officially activated, the unit commander Cpt. Lex Oren joined community leaders in a ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the grand opening of the Chattanooga Army Reserve Center, the unit's new home on Bonny Oaks Drive.
Oren is also facility commander of the nearly 47,000 square foot structure, which is part of an approximately 15-million-dollar complex constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers. The compound sits on 26 acres of land, and includes a 13, 585 square foot maintenance shop, and a Tennessee Air National Guard center.
"Seventeen years in the Army, and I've never had a building this nice," Oren said. "Everything's got new digital technology."
In addition to a computer lab and state of the art workout equipment, the building has a weapon simulator that enables Soldiers to train on individual and crew served weapons.
Spc. Markus Williams, a track mechanic with the 316th, says he's impressed with the gymnasium and space available to the five units that will occupy the building.
The facility also has motion sensor light switches, a feature that Williams, a full time Soldier, says he has difficulty getting accustomed to.
"The lights in my office turn themselves off," said Williams. "I have to [frequently] wave my hands to turn them back on."
"That's something he's going to have to live with," said Col. Patrick Briley, directorate of public works, 81st Regional Support Command, the organization responsible for the building. "All the new buildings have that. That's just a way of saving energy, and being good stewards of government funds."
Briley said the the city and county leader participation in the ceremony is a testament to the support the Army Reserve receives from the community.
"As you saw this morning, they came out in droves to support these Soldiers," Briley said. "That tells us that we put a brand new facility in the right community."
Local leaders who took part in the ribbon cutting included, Jim Coppinger, Hamilton County mayor, Ambassador John Dyess, United States Army Reserve Ambassador for Tennessee, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, and Steven Leach who represented City of Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield.