BASRA, Iraq (April 6, 2009) - Soldiers have worked around the clock to complete construction on the new $26-million Multi-National Division-South headquarters at Contingency Operating Base Basra that will host the 10th Mountain Division for the remainder of its tour in Iraq.

The new division headquarters consists of two buildings that are 30,000 square feet each, said Master Sgt. Rob Schoon, Division Automation Management Office noncommissioned officer-in-charge. Each building is one story, and every office has new desks, cabinets and chairs.

"It's been a big task, to say the least," said Schoon. "But our Soldiers have been highly motivated and determined to get it done in time for the division."

Schoon said Soldiers from the 10th Mtn. Div., Airmen from the Red Horse squadron, and contractors from KBR have been working since November running wire, laying concrete and constructing walls

He said it will be better than the MND-C headquarters because Soldiers had more input on the design, which was based on specifications and ideas pulled from experience at Camp Victory in Baghdad.

Once the Minnesota Army National Guard's 34th Infantry Division arrives, about 1,100 Soldiers and civilians will occupy the buildings. One building will mirror the first floor of the MND-C headquarters and will house the staff sections and the Division Operation Center, while the other building will house the Provost Marshall, Staff Judge Advocate, Public Affairs and Division Surgeon shops.

Master Sgt. Eldred Peterson, 10th Mtn. operations cell acting sergeant major, has been in charge of the movement of equipment from Camp Victory to Basra and assisted in the procurement and installation of the building's new furniture. Like Schoon, he's proud of the work done so far on the new headquarters.

"I like the furniture of the new offices," said Peterson, a native of Trenton, Tenn. "The quality of the furniture is a lot better than what we had at Camp Victory. I think the (Soldiers and Airmen) involved did a marvelous job on the buildings. A lot of work was put into it and I like the end result."

Along with the look and functionality of the new furniture and equipment, Peterson believes working in the new buildings will have an energizing effect on its occupants.

The location of MND-S headquarters is optimal as well, Peterson added.

"The building is very centrally located," he said. "Everything you need is in walking distance. I think they put it in the right spot."

Although the dining facility is only about 500 yards away and the living quarters are less than a half mile from the headquarters, shuttles do run continuously.

"I think Soldiers will be excited to come to a new building and environment," he said. "People will come in and be motivated to get the work done."

(Spc. Darryl L. Montgomery serves with the 10th Mountain Division and MND-South.)