Barracks upgrades under way
Robert Young, a welding contractor, works on renovating the former 2nd Battalion, 485th Infantry Regiment barracks Wednesday morning. The project is one of several planned to upgrade Fort Jackson's barracks.

FORT JACKSON S.C. (TRADOC News Service, May 15, 2008) -- Fort Jackson has been in the process of renovating barracks long before last week's media stir about living conditions for Soldiers.

Work is being done to completely renovate the former 2nd Battalion, 485th Infantry Brigade barracks as the first project in the Training Barracks Upgrade Program.

"The Training Barracks Upgrade Program is going to completely renovate quarters and bring them up to a like-new condition," said Col. Lillian Dixon, garrison commander. "It will eliminate poor living conditions for Basic Combat Training Soldiers and provide much needed improvement to their quality of life while training here at Fort Jackson."

Construction on the former 2nd Bn., 485th Inf. Reg. barracks, located off Magruder Avenue and Strom Thurmond Boulevard, began in 2007 and is expected to be completed in August. Renovations include not only barracks, but the dining facility, battalion headquarters and classrooms.

Built in the 1950s, the barracks' sleeping areas are being reconfigured to accommodate 55 BCT Soldiers and will feature new plumbing, heating and air as well as electrical systems.

The next upgrades are slated for the 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment barracks located off Magruder Avenue and Hill Street. The $1 billion, eight-year program is being done in a phased approach so there will be enough living quarters at any given time to support at least 54 Basic Combat Training companies.

Plans are also in the works to construct two additional modern Basic Training Center Complexes similar to the 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, which opened three years ago.

The installation opened its doors to several media outlets last week to visit Fort Jackson barracks. The media requests stemmed from a video posted on a Web site showing decrepit conditions at Fort Bragg, N.C. The video was uploaded from a father greeting his son who had recently redeployed to Fort Bragg after a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Work orders, however, had already been submitted to correct the conditions, which included a clogged bathroom drain and peeled paint, according to Brig. Gen. Dennis E. Rogers, deputy director of operations and facilities for Army Installation Management Command.

Senior Army leaders directed garrison commanders to inspect all barracks last week.

Fort Jackson garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Lewis Kellam said the installation conducted the required inspections and is already fixing identified problems.

Chris.Rasmussen@us.army.mil

Page last updated Thu May 15th, 2008 at 14:19