FORT MEADE, Md. - On Jan. 23, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, joined Defense officials and our contract partners to kick-off the renovation and expansion of the Defense Information School known throughout the military as DINFOS.

An outside 18-minute ceremony in 18 degree weather broke ground for the 62,000 square foot renovation and 88,000 square foot expansion at the instructional facility on Fort Meade, Md.

Bryan Whitman, the acting director of the Defense Media Activity, noted that, "It is a real privilege and honor for me to be here today and to be a part of this ceremony. We are gathered here today on this date for this ground breaking because it was 67 years ago today on January 23, 1946, that the Army activated the information school at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. This was the first military school established to provide training for what would become the public affairs career field."

The event highlighted the long-awaited $30 million project that will renovate the instructional facilities and add a wing of new construction in the back of DINFOS. According to the contract announcement, Sustainable Design and Development, Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, and other energy policies, are features in the design.

He emphasized the unique importance of the career field. "There have been various mergers and moves until we have gotten to where we are here today-the Defense Information School-a premiere institution that is unquestionably vital to the Defense Department."

DINFOS has trained more than 150,000 enlisted, officer and civilian personnel with constantly updated written and visual communication courses designed to keep the troops and public informed about the missions and people of the Defense Department. DINFOS moved to Fort Meade during the base realignment and closure commission actions in the 1990s.

He noted the vision and leadership of the current commandant, Col. Jeremy Martin, and previous leaders, including Capt. Curry Graham and Col. Gary Keck, in effectively presenting and defending the case for this renovation and expansion.

A key architectural feature in the expansion is the glass-enclosed atrium that will connect the current building with the expanded instructional area.

Project completion is expected in November 2014. For Baltimore District, the project manager is Mary Dan, Projects and Program Management Division-Military, and Christy Pispitsos led the in-house design team from Engineering Division.

"To all of you and to all of those who have made this day happen, my sincere thanks and appreciation--- now let's dig some dirt," Whitman concluded.