By USACEMarch 20, 2008
The Fort Bliss Expansion Program execution planning began in April 2005. In August of that year a project delivery team was formed and in March of 2006 the $4.1 billion military construction program was authorized. The expansion program encompasses 90 projects involving 300 buildings, 3,100 acres to accommodate 10 million square feet of living and work space in support of approximately 30,000 Soldiers.
Quality of Life
A typical BCT will have barracks, dining facilities, company operation facilities, headquarters buildings, vehicle maintenance shops, unit storage facilities, equipment parking areas, and other features. The Aviation Brigade project has hangars.
The expansion brings four Heavy Brigade Combat Team complexes, two Infantry Brigade Combat teams, one Combat Aviation Brigade and many other support facilities. The expansion is funded by a combination of Base Realignment and Closure Act and Military Construction dollars. In order to make room for the first two complexes, 2 million cubic yards of dirt on 635 acres had to be removed. One BCT occupies about 300 acres and is approximately 1 mile by a half mile which is close in size to the Washington Mall at 309 acres.
The first two BCT complexes are currently under construction and will require 14.8 miles of paving for streets and tank trails. There will be 18.2 miles of water mains in addition to 8.7 miles of sanitary and 8.6 miles of storm sewer mains. More than 10 miles of natural gas mains will be installed along with 19.1 miles of duct bank and 39 miles of copper conductor for electricity and communications.
The BCT 1 project began turning dirt in September of 2006 and is expect to be troop ready by Sept. 30, 2008. BCT complexes 2, 3 and 4 will be troop ready by Sept. 30, 2009, 2010 and 2014 respectively. The average cost of a BCT complex is about $400 million with infrastructure.
As part of the Army's Military Construction Transformation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has adopted industry standards, codes and best practices and keeps only those specialized requirements --such as Force Protection -- that are necessary to meet the Army's needs. The over-arching goals of these new facilities have been developed to enhance quality of life for the Soldier and his or her family.
When it came to unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing or barracks, attention was given to methods used by private industry and to non-traditional construction methods such as pre-fabricated, pre-engineered, panelized, and modular construction. The barracks will house single soldiers and is intended to be similar to off-post apartment-type housing. A soldier's room includes private sleeping area, walk-in closets, a shared bathroom and kitchenette and will be wired for telephone, cable and Internet access.
Serving as good environmental "stewards," emphasis was placed on energy conservation, reduced reliance on automobiles, incorporating day lighting and reduced maintenance by using lasting and durable materials. The idea was to create a sense of place and discourage a sterile environment by incorporating urban design elements with emphasis on bringing activities outdoors and creating a pedestrian place.