Teamwork: Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovations completed

By Cheri Dragos-PritchardFebruary 16, 2024

Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited Fort Liberty, N.C., Dec. 13 with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty; Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander, and the construction team to see the progress of the Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovation after the construction process began one year ago. The 1970s style volar barracks were identified as unsustainable in August 2022, and the USACE teams conducting the construction over the past year included the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts and the contractor, Conti Federal Services.
Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited Fort Liberty, N.C., Dec. 13 with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty; Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander, and the construction team to see the progress of the Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovation after the construction process began one year ago. The 1970s style volar barracks were identified as unsustainable in August 2022, and the USACE teams conducting the construction over the past year included the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts and the contractor, Conti Federal Services. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dixie Manzanares) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LIBERTY, N.C. — One year has passed and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed the renovation construction of three Smoke Bomb Hill barracks at Fort Liberty (formerly Fort Bragg), which are scheduled to be turned over to the installation in early 2024.

The USACE teams conducting the work included the Savannah District Military Construction Division, the Huntsville and Omaha Districts, and the contractor, Conti Federal Services.

The Department of Defense awarded two contracts Sept. 28, 2022, totaling more than $82 million for the Fort Liberty barracks to accomplish renovations, repairs and revitalizations on three barracks, while another contract totaling $13.5 million was awarded for demolition of 12 Smoke Bomb Hill VOLAR barracks.

The contracts were part of an accelerated funding approval and focused on the VOLAR-style barracks built in the 1970s and were identified as unsustainable in August 2022.

“Our team was the lead for the Corps of Engineers and leveraged the full expertise across the enterprise to complete this project in approximately one year.” said Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander. “The Savannah District has a reputation for doing what we say we’re going to do.”

Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited Fort Liberty, N.C., Dec. 13 with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty; Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander, and the construction team to see the progress of the Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovation after the construction process began one year ago. The 1970s style volar barracks were identified as unsustainable in August 2022, and the USACE teams conducting the construction over the past year included the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts and the contractor, Conti Federal Services.
Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited Fort Liberty, N.C., Dec. 13 with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty; Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander, and the construction team to see the progress of the Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovation after the construction process began one year ago. The 1970s style volar barracks were identified as unsustainable in August 2022, and the USACE teams conducting the construction over the past year included the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts and the contractor, Conti Federal Services. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dixie Manzanares) VIEW ORIGINAL

The USACE expertise addressed the issues through several capabilities to include engineering, architectural and construction competencies as well as a rapid contracting capacity.

“The construction was in response to the needs of the Soldiers and units at Fort Liberty.” Sturgeon continued. “This [project] is a testament to the teamwork between the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts, and the overall reliability of USACE to deliver on time and within budget.”

The Smoke Bomb Hill VOLAR barracks on Fort Liberty were identified to have life, health, and safety issues due to systematic mechanical issues that resulted in a failure in humidity control, which increased the mold growth in the living spaces of the Soldiers. Those conditions could have negatively impacted the readiness of the XVIII Airborne Corps mission for a rapidly deployable force.

“The completion of this [barracks] construction project at Fort Liberty was fast-tracked to meet the standard for all newly designed facilities,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel Hibner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic Division commander. “Quality of life projects for our service members are a top priority for USACE. The experience we leverage across our organization matched with our partnerships with local public works teams, contractors and industry are key to ensuring we deliver innovative solutions for today’s Soldier.”

The Savannah District has construction field offices located at Fort Liberty that are staffed with USACE professionals who worked closely with contractors, the installation and other stakeholders to build quality facilities for Soldiers and the Army community.

“The Savannah District, in conjunction with Omaha District and Huntsville District all worked diligently with the contractors, public works team and everyone involved,” Hibner explained. “They upheld our standard to enhance active duty service members’ quality of life in support of our nation’s defense.”

The Savannah District manages and oversees a multi-billion-dollar military construction program at 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina. Corps projects range from barracks, hospitals and clinics to equipment shops, headquarters buildings and aircraft hangars.

Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited Fort Liberty, N.C., Dec. 13 with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty; Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander, and the construction team to see the progress of the Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovation after the construction process began one year ago. The 1970s style volar barracks were identified as unsustainable in August 2022, and the USACE teams conducting the construction over the past year included the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts and the contractor, Conti Federal Services.
Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon, 55th chief of engineers and commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, visited Fort Liberty, N.C., Dec. 13 with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty; Col. Ron Sturgeon, USACE, Savannah District commander, and the construction team to see the progress of the Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks renovation after the construction process began one year ago. The 1970s style volar barracks were identified as unsustainable in August 2022, and the USACE teams conducting the construction over the past year included the Savannah District’s Military Construction Program, the Omaha District’s Rapid Disaster Infrastructure Program, Huntsville’s Facilities Reduction Program experts and the contractor, Conti Federal Services. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dixie Manzanares) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Overseeing the building and renovations of the barracks at Fort Liberty has been a major part of our military construction mission over the last year,” said Karl Vanstavoren, Savannah District’s area engineer at Fort Liberty. “We have completed the project on schedule and that’s taken a lot of teamwork. Ultimately, these construction projects offer a more modern, comfortable space for the Soldiers, and knowing our collective efforts will provide a better quality of life for the war fighters here at Fort Liberty is a rewarding part of my job.”

As a whole, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committed to long-term improvements and understands the earlier renovations were not adequate to resolve the concerns of the Smoke Bomb Hill barracks complex.

“Our Military Construction mission provides construction management services as a member of the project delivery team to ensure construction contracts are executed on time, within budget, with the specified quality and in a safe manner, said Jimmy Lou, USACE, Savannah District, project manager. “However, this has definitely been a team effort, and the state-of-the-art solutions incorporated into the construction design of the new barracks will solve the mold concerns and improve the living conditions for future generations of Fort Liberty Soldiers.”

Conti Federal Service, a global, mid-size construction and engineering company, was the primary contractor for this project, and Lou has worked with them on a previous Savannah District project.

“I was the Alternate Care Facility project manager for Savannah District back in 2020 and the District partnered with them [Conti Federal Services] on delivering a COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility at the National Guard Base on St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” Lou explained. “It was an incredibly time-sensitive environment, and they completed the retrofit within 22 days. So, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that we would be working with them on this project. I knew they had the expertise and capacity to work through the challenges associated with a project like this.”