Fifty-three million dollars and 13 years of work at the installation and Army headquarters level came to fruition Dec. 9 when leaders broke ground for the new Army Field Support Battalion Installation Maintenance Division complex.
The project is scheduled to be complete in 2022 at the corner of 3rd Street and Wickham Avenue. Preliminary work at the site began about seven months ago.
Colonel Jeremy D. Bell, Fort Campbell garrison commander, said this expansion will allow the AFSBn maintenance shops to be in one complex, instead of spread across 28 buildings in 11 different locations on post.
“This facility is greatly needed,” Bell said during the ceremony. “About 80% of AFSBn’s current maintenance buildings were constructed over 70 years ago and their primary facilities were WWII-era wood facilities constructed in the early 1940s.”
Installation Maintenance Division Chief Mark Bean said the project has been a top priority for several years and will save the government about $680,000 per year.
The project will help modernize Fort Campbell by allowing for the demolition of many old and outdated buildings and provide additional space to build new facilities in the future, Bell said.
The complex will include seven buildings. Four new buildings are planned for the project. The other three are small maintenance shops that already exist. The site will stretch from 3rd Street to 8th Street, between Tennessee and Wickham avenues, said Lt. Col. Sean Wilson, AFSBn commander.
“We do a lot of maintenance for all of Fort Campbell,” Wilson said. “We take care of all of the maintenance for the garrison, which is everything from the trash compactor at the dump to the great big, heavy equipment, like road graders and salt trucks and fire trucks.”
They also do “pass-back maintenance” on tactical equipment for all the units and tenants at Fort Campbell, if the repairs exceed a unit’s capabilities or tool sets, he said.
“This facility will allow us to consolidate all that in one place, saving the government, as a whole, a lot of money and time and manpower, because all of the stuff will be in one spot, instead of having to duplicate some positions at each of the different shops now,” Wilson said.
He said combining the shops will reduce the number of clerks needed to staff the shops and eliminate many other redundancies at the various locations.
The current facilities are located in old WWII-style buildings that are expensive to maintain.
“They are so old and inefficient, and some of them we don’t use anymore because they are unsafe to inhabit,” Wilson said. “By building this new, consolidated maintenance facility, we are able to give those facilities back to the (Directorate of Public Works) and they will be demolished. That’s another bonus.”
Bean said over the years, several buildings have been either torn down or vacated after decades of repairing them, refurbishing them or retrofitting them to keep them operational.
“We’ve had engineer assessments that said they are fast approaching their life expectancy,” Bean said. “We had to move out of half of these buildings to different facilities across post, whatever was available.”
Bean said one building was demolished in 2014 and workers had to vacate a large maintenance building in 2016 and another in 2018.
Wilson said the majority of space in the complex will be used mostly for motor pool space and maintenance bays.
“It’s pretty exciting that it’s been funded and they’re breaking ground on it,” Wilson said.
The new complex will include space for automotive repairs, weapons and electronic repairs, body work and painting, production control and a parts warehouse.
The project will provide more than 136,000 square-feet for maintenance shop areas and over 50,852 square-yards of organizational parking, Bell said.
“This project would not be possible without the strong support of our Kentucky and Tennessee congressional delegations and Fort Campbell champions,” Bell said.
He said the new facility complex will allow AFSBn’s maintenance division to better support any future increases in unit maintenance requirements resulting from increased combat operations.
“It will greatly reduce repair times, which will allow tactical vehicles and equipment to return back to units faster,” Bell said.
The new facility is specifically designed to support the Army’s newest vehicles and equipment, Bell said.
“This will increase mission readiness for Fort Campbell tactical as well as garrison activities,” Bean said. “It will also provide a safe and efficient place for the employees to work in.”