By U.S. ArmySeptember 13, 2012
FORT MCCOY, Wis. (Sept. 13, 2012) -- Fort McCoy's newest barracks is ready to support troops training at the installation following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Sept. 6.
Darrell Neitzel, director of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works, said the facility represents the future of barracks buildings at Fort McCoy.
The installation still has approximately 270 wood barracks in use, which were constructed as temporary facilities when the cantonment area was constructed in the early 1940s.
"We were here not very long ago, less than a year ago, to have the ground-breaking ceremony for this building," Neitzel said. "In less than a year, we have this nice, beautiful building ready to be put into use for our training Soldiers."
The $6.8 million Annual Training/Mobilization barracks is the first new barracks built since 1942 and the first-ever permanent barracks facility built at Fort McCoy. The contractor was Four Bears/TCI JV, LLC of Elroy, Wis.
The two-story, brick-and-mortar structure is 29,482 square feet and can house up to 168 troops. A unique feature of the design/build facility is its open-bay concept, which can be divided into eight sections to allow for the segregation of male and female troops or separate units to maintain unit integrity under one roof.
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott said the new Annual Training/Mobilization Barracks represents the beginning of change as the installation continues to modernize its facilities. The installation has renovated many of its existing facilities to support the quality of life for troops training at Fort McCoy, he said.
"Renovation is still a short-term solution for that long-term challenge, replacing temporary buildings that are now 70 years old," Nott said. "This building represents the start of that long-term solution."
The new barracks also incorporates many new technologies that give taxpayers the "biggest bang for the buck," he said. Fort McCoy gains efficiencies in space management and energy efficiency, as well as allows for better use of the facility space. Nott said this further increases the building's value to taxpayers.
The building is LEED Silver certified, meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standards, which means it will be very energy efficient, he said.
From a Soldier's standpoint, troops using the facility will experience substantial improvements to their quality of life, Nott said. Some of the amenities supporting this will be modern bathrooms, laundry rooms, a study room, and an activity room. The facility will be the first air-conditioned billets on Fort McCoy.
This is the beginning of the realization of a very diligent strategic-planning process, he said.
"A lot of work has gone in over several decades in determining what Fort McCoy should look like in the future," Nott said. "The funding process, the planning and execution process with contracting and construction actually takes a very long time."
The planning process to get the new building probably started two decades ago when the installation senior leadership began to determine how Fort McCoy would remain relevant in the 21st century.
Cpl. Matthew Riley of the 86th Training Division was chosen to participate in the ceremony as a representative of the customers who will use the facility, Nott said. The 86th is a unit that trains many troops and participates in exercises at Fort McCoy. Soldiers being trained by the 86th will be among the personnel who use the new facility.
Following the ceremony, attendees were given tours to see the inside of the facility.