It won't be long before Tobyhanna Army Depot razes what remains of a military hospital built to receive casualties from the invasion of Japan during World War II.

Although that invasion did not occur and the hospital was never fully used, the 19 single-story structures served the Army for more than 75 years. The buildings, once connected by a series of enclosed walkways, were used as nurses' quarters, barracks, dental clinic, infirmary, mess hall, heating plant, and water pumping station. The former headquarters building was still in use until a couple months ago.

Team Tobyhanna uses the ever-changing nature of the depot's mission as a springboard to redefine the installation's landscape and breathe new life into its older structures through new construction, modernization and demolition projects.

The cycle of change continues throughout this year and into the future with several ventures affecting members of the workforce and one third of the depot's buildings.

A few weeks ago the doors of the new Post Restaurant [renamed Café 11] opened after millions were spent transforming it into a state-of-the-art food service mecca. Then, hundreds of employees took up residency in newly modernized work spaces after years of work on the depot's largest building came to an end. At the same time, information management and human resource experts were able to settle into updated offices after two wings in the depot's administration building reopened.
An extension of the multimillion-dollar modernization project is underway to convert warehouse space into a cafeteria improving the quality of life of employees who work in the industrial area. The food service facility replaces the one that was on the mezzanine, according to Chris Sheerer, chief of the Installation Services Directorate's Engineering Branch.

Sheerer also mentioned some above ground and below ground work being done for the waste water treatment plant, explaining that there are a lot of old things tied into the new plant that need to be addressed. He pointed out that the two denitrification towers are going to be demolished because they have outlived their usefulness. They were installed years ago to remove nitrogen from sewage and municipal wastewater. The civil engineer also described how the development of a five-phase plan to replace the water, wastewater and storm distribution system will ensure utility infrastructure meets future requirements.

A few blocks away, contractors just finished putting a new roof on Building 1B. The building also boasts a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and lighting.

Some of the more noticeable projects include repairing, replacing or adding canopies over a number of loading docks. A paving contract was approved to repair potholes, and paint lines on the roads and around parking spaces. Starting next year, a number of buildings will have an Exterior Insulated Finishing System applied to improve the aesthetics and energy efficiency of the structures, Sheerer noted.

Engineering Technician Chuck Brown highlighted work being done to set the stage for current and future workloads.

"Upgrades in Building 5, Bay 3 for the Tactical Enterprise Logistics Suite (TELS) mission are complete," Brown said, adding that work included installing a fence around the work area. "The site earmarked for a laser-based training system is taking shape in another warehouse."

Contractors will be breaking ground to pour an 80-foot diameter foundation for a facility that will be used to test the Army's satellite transportable terminals (STT) being overhauled by depot employees.

"This radome will expand Tobyhanna's STT capabilities to meet growing demand for these systems, and give employees a safe and climate-controlled place to perform their daily tasks," said Engineering Technician Edward Bentler.

Improvement projects scattered across the depot include locations outside the industrial area. For instance, the roads and grounds building behind the commissary will receive a much needed facelift.

Over the last 60 years, if a guest wanted to cool down while staying in Summerall Barracks, they opened a window. A recent financial windfall will provide an opportunity to upgrade the aging building by installing hotel-type air conditioners in each of the rooms. In addition, seven bathrooms and a laundry room will be remodeled while the building's exterior is repaired.

"Because of the age of the building, it would be difficult and costly if we tried to run ducts," Sheerer said. "Wall-mounted units are the best solution in this situation."

Future projects include redesigning the Stroudsburg Gate to meet established security requirements.