HILO, Hawaii -- The U.S. Army unveiled 20 new barracks spaces yesterday for troops training at Pohakuloa Training Area.
The $17 million project, which took two years to complete, replaces the WWII-era Quonset style buildings that housed service members who were training on Hawaii Island.
“We are a team of teams here on Hawaii Island and PTA is proud to be on your team,"' said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, commander of Pohakuloa Training Area. "This project was very much a team effort across the State of Hawaii and here on Hawaii Island.”
The cinder block buildings with standing seam roofs, modernized plumbing and electrical were all performed locally by Nakasato Contracting LLC, a woman-owned business based out of Kaneohe, and all sub-contractors came from Hawaii Island.
The original Quonset style buildings were built in the 1950s by Soldiers; many of whom came from the Hawaii Army National Guard’s engineer units.
“It’s humbling to think about the service and sacrifice of these troops," Cronin said.
Located between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Hualālai, PTA is the largest contiguous live-fire range and maneuver training area in Hawai‘i. Units from all U.S. military services, as well as allied militaries, and Hawaii County fire and emergency personnel train at PTA, because it offers realistic training opportunities not found elsewhere.
In addition to being a prime training area for military forces in the Pacific region, PTA is a vanguard of environmental and cultural protection. PTA Natural and Cultural Resources staff include more than 30 professionals dedicated to preserving and protecting endangered and threatened plants and safeguarding cultural resources at PTA.