New home for the Armor School at Fort Benning
Soldiers of the U.S. Army Armor School arrived at their new home, Ft. Benning, Ga., to state-of-the-art barracks, dining facilities, headquarters, instructional and maintenance facilities customized especially for them. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, completed a $1.5 billion construction program, mostly in the Harmony Church training area, in preparation for the Soldiers' arrival.
"More than five million square feet of new building space, eight bridges, 200 miles of roads and trails, and 19 ranges were constructed to meet the specialized needs of armor Soldiers and their critical requirements," said George Condoyiannis, the area engineer of this construction program. "We provided the facility infrastructure that directly supports mission training and power projection capabilities."
The Armor School relocated to Ft. Benning from Ft. Knox, Ky., joining the U.S. Army Infantry School to form the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The move brought more than 7,500 Soldiers and 500,000 pieces of equipment to the new facilities at Harmony Church. The move was part of the Base Realignment and Closure initiative and supported the overarching concept that since infantry and armor fight together, they should live and train together. To meet the needs for this massive project, the Corps' presence at Fort Benning also underwent significant changes.
"The Ft. Benning Area Office ramped up their presence on the installation, increasing the number of personnel from 22 to 108, throughout the last four years in order to execute the largest military construction program in the Southeast," said Condoyiannis.
Working closely with more than 49 different general contractors, the district team coordinated construction efforts for multiple projects, ensuring that each contractor had a clear understanding of the installation's ongoing mission.
"Because of the close coordination between the Corps, the installation, and the contractors, Armor and Infantry Soldiers were able to continue operations uninterrupted by the ongoing construction activity," said Condoyiannis. "The success of this unprecedented program, the size and scope of which had never before been attempted by the South Atlantic Division, required a concerted effort by a team of talented industry professionals committed to delivering facilities that the Soldiers of the Maneuver Center of Excellence deserved and expected."
Article by Rashida Banks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District