FORT BENNING, Ga. – Imagine a barracks room having USB ports and working thermostats. That’s what is slated for the $4.4 million Smart Barracks Initiative on Kelley Hill.A modernization project for Building 9164 kicks off in April. This is an Army pilot program, said Geoff Ray, a mechanical engineer with Fort Benning’s Directorate of Public Works’ Operations and Maintenance Division. The agencies working with Army Materiel Command on this pilot include Installation Management Command and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Milhorn, USACE deputy commanding general for Military and International Operations, visited the Maneuver Center of Excellence Jan. 21 for a briefing on the project and ongoing construction here.Brandon Cockrell, chief of Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, said the smart barracks initiative is a key part of the Installations of the Future.It is divided into two phases, the first phase starts in April on Kelley Hill. The location of the second phase, scheduled for FY22-23, has yet to be determined, Ray said.During the first phase, the barracks will be fitted with a state-of-the-art utility monitoring and control system, improved heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment, electrical retrofits and smart fire detection and protection devices.The Army wants to modernize its housing and permanent party barracks. Ray said they hope to improve security, quality of life, facility maintenance, improve energy and water efficiency along with capturing data to analyze to provide better user comfort.Phase 1 includes increased filtration and ultraviolet lights, increasing air quality in the building, improving the controls for the building ¬ the building automation system, to tie all the wiring, HVAC, electrical together so you can see it and program it better, he said.“The point of this is to give Soldiers more control over their environment and provide better quality of life,” Ray said.