The Army Reserve Readiness Training Center uncased its colors Friday and cut the ribbon on its new home"a renovated Gaffey Hall"on Fort Knox.

“Welcome to today’s historic ceremony, which is actually two ceremonies wrapped up into one,” said the center’s commandant, Col. Aaron Walter. “The first is the symbolic unfurling of the ARRTC colors at Fort Knox and the second, the commemorative opening symbolized with a ribbon- cutting, of our magnificent new headquarters.”

In addition to the administrative offices in Gaffey Hall, Skidgel Hall"across the street and facing Gaffey"is also being renovated to provide classroom space for the ARRTC students.

The ARRTC"essentially the schoolhouse for Army Reservists"has undergone a few changes of its own since the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005 directed that the center move from Fort McCoy, Wis., to Fort Knox along with the 84th Training Command, its parent unit. But more changes and realignments led to the ARRTC becoming independent of the 84th and reporting directly to the U.S. Army Reserve Command.

“It is the start of a new era, for us and many others, at Fort Knox,” said Col. Walter. “I can report today that we have successfully closed on our objective and are now fully prepared to begin teaching classes from Skidgel Hall Monday. We will continue to add classes over the next several months to our plate, all while the renovations to Skidgel Hall are completed.”

The ARRTC runs 31 courses and specializes in six functional areas: mobilization and movement; training and operations; human resource management; logistics and engineering; security, resource and information management; and retention and entry training.

The first class ARRTC conducted in 1976 was for 24 students. In 2012, more than 7,000 active duty, reserve, and National Guard Soldiers; Department of the Army civilians; Army Reserve military technicians; and active and reserve component Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps service members are expected to travel to Fort Knox for ARRTC courses. In the next five-seven years, the total class load could be as much as 12,000 students per year.

Those students"many of whom will be civilians"will undoubtedly provide significant economic impact to the Knox communities, said Col. Walter, with hotel stays, restaurant meals, and rental cars.

According to Maj. Gen. Jon Miller, the deputy commander for the U.S. Army Reserve Command, every one of the 31 courses offered by ARRTC is vital to the Army Force Generation model and continues to transform to meet the training needs of the Army. In spite of the organizational changes, Maj. Gen. Miller seemed confident that the climate on Fort Knox will foster success for ARRTC.

“Thank you for the warm welcome the Fort Knox community has extended to Col. Walter and his team,” said Maj. Gen. Miller.

The ARRTC mission and reason for existence, Col. Walter said in his conclusion, continues to become the Army Reserve Soldier and civilian learning institution of excellence, inspiring a lifelong learning culture by delivering relevant, cutting-edge training and education so that Army Reserve Soldiers and civilians are capable of supporting the full spectrum of operations and ready to face the challenges posed by the complex global security environment.

“In short, we are vigilant and unified, always ready and always prepared,” he said.