Fort Moore Soldiers provide insight for improving barracks

By Alexander Gago, Fort Moore Public AffairsMarch 19, 2024

Fort Moore Soldiers provide insight for improving barracks
U.S. Army Parachute Riggers, Sgt. Emma Smith, and Sgt. Robert Martin, with Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, completed a barracks improvement survey during a Soldier selection committee Jan. 31 at Fort Moore, Ga. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Alexander Gago, Fort Moore Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT MOORE, Ga. − A Soldier selection committee comprised of junior and senior enlisted Soldiers came together Jan. 31 to provide feedback about living in the barracks. Soldier insight was captured with a smart-barracks-focused survey and results will guide plans for improvements to barracks facilities and amenities on Fort Moore.

"Soldier centered and informed design, like the work done on these barracks, is important to creating both living and work environments that provide the Soldier with a quality of life they deserve," said Tamara Sutherland, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, director of strategic integration.

The smart barracks project initiative incorporates best practices in smart technology, cyber and physical security, and energy efficient systems to provide better overall quality of life for Soldiers.

Bringing together the Soldier selection committee was the beginning step in an ongoing dialogue to further improve barracks living, according to Brandi Boutwell, Directorate of Public Works, engineering design branch architect.

“This feedback will help us focus on what elements are most critical for improvement and what amenities will add enhancement, all straight from the Soldiers’ suggestions,” said Boutwell.

Work on the smart barracks project began in summer of 2020 with upgrades to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning of the selected building on Fort Moore’s Kelley Hill. A new HVAC system is a primary part of making the old barracks “smart” by purifying the air while lessening operating costs. The survey results show the most requested improvement was individual controls for heating and cooling.

Sgt. Emma Smith, a parachute rigger with Echo Company, 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade, and native of Boston, highlighted the importance of access to and control over climate systems.

"Being able to individually control heating and cooling room temperatures and having efficient washer and dryers … would improve barracks life for me," said Smith.

Survey respondents also said they liked ideas for storage drawers under beds, ergonomic chairs, sitting desks, blackout shades, wall TV mounts, and bookshelves. For outdoor areas, Soldiers suggested covered bike storage, covered outdoor space for car repairs, and additional outdoor outlets and lighting.

Sgt. Robert Martin, also a parachute rigger with Echo Company, and native of Richmond, Va., said it is important to have Soldiers living in the barracks decide the type of barracks they want.

“We need to have better communications or notices given when maintenance will be working in my room on scheduled repairs; this would improve barracks life for me,” said Martin.

Other requests Soldiers made in the survey included filtered water for kitchenettes, a common ice machine, and pool tables, and for outdoor areas, propane grills, fire pits, a games area, designated parking, picnic tables, and volleyball courts.

“Overall, the survey was a great success and provided valuable insights for improving barracks facilities and amenities at Fort Moore,” said Boutwell. “We are working on incorporating many of those recommendations from the survey into the Smart Barracks building right now.”