Soldiers with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment exercise near a Basic Combat Training starship renovation site off Jackson Boulevard. All six of the installation's BCT starship complexes are part of an eight-year renovation project that started in 2008 and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

FORT JACKSON, SC -- Trying to keep up with current locations of units and organizations on Fort Jackson has become increasingly challenging as a number of the post's residents have changed addresses throughout the last six months.

More changes are on the horizon, as wide-scale construction and renovation efforts are expected to continue through 2016, said Scott Nahrwold, deputy garrison commander.

"The strategy that drove all this was one that goes back several years, I'd say almost 15 years. The effort was to bring Basic Combat Training north of Strom Thurmond Boulevard," Nahrwold said. "What you see today, with the renovation of the six starships, the construction of three new star bases, is all designed to posture us so that we can bring all nine battalions of Basic Combat Training north of that notional line of demarcation."

As part of these efforts, the 165th Infantry Brigade moved its headquarters from Magruder Avenue to 9475 Kershaw Road, the former location of the Staff Judge Advocate office. The need for the 165th to be closer to its battalions created a ripple effect, explained Michael Hipp, Fort Jackson's master planner with the Directorate of Public Works.

"We had to make several other moves in order for that building to come open," Hipp said.

The Staff Judge Advocate office moved to 2600 Lee Road, which in turn forced the Directorate of Logistics and the Directorate of Resource Management into a new home at 3295 Forney Road.

"The coordination for these kinds of activities starts years ahead of time in an effort to ensure that we understand, not only the fundamental requirement, but also the second- and third-order effects of everything that we're going to do," Nahrwold said. "It's rare to move one element without it having an almost postwide impact."

Although creating updated facilities for the installation's nine BCT battalions is a priority, other units are on the move as well. One of the major construction projects under way is the creation of a new complex for the 369th Adjutant General Battalion. The battalion's former sites have been demolished and the new buildings are expected to be ready in about two years, Hipp said.

Hipp said that although some buildings on the installation are currently not occupied, installation leaders are carefully weighing the options of how to best use them.

"We're trying to make the Strom Thurmond Building, as much as possible, a one-stop check-in and checkout complex. So we're trying to focus the function of that building on that type of use," Hipp said. "So, some of these buildings that are empty now -- we're holding off on making a decision until we really figure out that Strom Thurmond issue, because that could have an effect on who goes into these other empty buildings. So we're trying not to rush to fill anything until we really figure out the Strom Thurmond Building solution."

The postwide renovation and construction efforts started in 2008 and are expected to be completed in 2016, generating a total cost of nearly $1 billion, Nahrwold said.

"I know that the contractors definitely prefer to work with local subcontractors, so a lot of that money is in fact going back into the local economy," he said.

Nahrwold added that he does not expect significant amounts of money to be allocated for new construction projects beyond that time frame.

"The Army is going to look to us to renovate and modernize existing facilities rather than to focus on building new (structures) as we move into this fundamentally different fiscal reality that awaits us here in the (coming) years," he said.

To coordinate the current efforts, a realignment working group was established several years ago that consists of representatives from all the major units and organizations. The group meets weekly to discuss upcoming projects and timelines and to synchronize efforts across the installation.

"The cooperation that we get from all of our partners in excellence has been superb. In fact, they all understand that there will be certain inconveniences that we're all going to have to bear as we move to this desired end state," Nahrwold said. "It's hard work and it can be terribly frustrating from time to time. But it's the good will of all the people involved that makes those challenges easy to deal with."

Page last updated Thu January 5th, 2012 at 14:48