By Jeff Crawley, Fort Sill CannoneerJanuary 23, 2009
FORT SILL, Okla. -- The move of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School from Fort Bliss, Texas, to Fort Sill, and the construction of the new ADA complex here are well under way and on schedule, said Fort Sill officials.
The USAADASCH will conduct its first class at Fort Sill in early August when about 80 service members attend the Captain's Career Course, said Lt. Col. Artice Scott, chief of the BRAC Reintegration and Integration Cell. About four more courses will also begin during Fiscal '09. Eventually 18 courses will be offered by 2011, the deadline set by Base Realignment and Closure authorities.
"Everything is moving along great. We've had no show-stoppers," said Scott, whose BRIC is responsible for the transition of the ADA element from Texas to Oklahoma.
Since July 2008, the five BRIC staff members, along with about 35 augmentees who are mostly from Fort Bliss, have been working to ensure that the USAADASCH will be ready to begin courses the first week of August.
"We're making sure that all the processes, systems, i.e., instructors, equipment and all those types of items are available and ready to go," said Scott, who is an ADA officer.
An advance party from the 6th ADA Brigade, which oversees the USAADASCH, arrived in September 2008, to become administratively established here, Scott said. That involved working with numerous units and agencies, including the Central Issuing Facility and Directorate of Information Management.
Communications links have been established and computers from Fort Bliss have been sent here and are in storage awaiting the arrival of people, he said.
"A lot of the intangibles, the things that people don't see, have been done," Scott said.
Construction of the new USAADASCH and ADA complex began in August 2007, northwest of the Shoppette off Fort Sill Boulevard. The first new structure, a dining facility, will open in the spring, said Randall Butler, Fort Sill director of Public Works.
"We are making great progress in the construction and a lot or our projects are ahead of schedule," he said.
Eighteen new buildings will be built as part of the USAADASCH in the $215 million project.
New buildings include facilities designed specifically to teach curriculums for the Patriot missile system; Stinger/Avenger weapons systems; and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence studies. Other facilities include a noncommissioned officer academy and four barracks.
"Starting in February through August, we are going to have a good chunk of these facilities come online," Butler said.
Another 10 buildings that are part of the ADA complex are being renovated, Butler said. BRAC renovations have been completed in the five buildings of the 1600-area, which will house 6th ADA Brigade Headquarters and its three battalions' headquarters, he said. Some sustainment, restoration and modernization work is still being done on those buildings and will be completed soon.
Knox, McNair and Taylor halls are also getting upgrades because they will eventually accommodate staff from the USAADASCH, Butler said.
Scott said that administrators are working hard to ensure that ADA students do not suffer training lapses because of the move of the USAADASCH.
The points of instruction and core competencies for students, whether one is a private or a lieutenant, will not change with the move to Fort Sill, he said.
"It's a different installation name, but the instruction they receive will be synonymous with what they received at Fort Bliss," Scott said.