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Renovation on the first of Fort Bennings starship barracks was completed Aug. 27. Soldiers begin moving in Friday.
Its the first of its kind as an all-encompassing renovation of the old starship buildings, said Matt Thornberg, project engineer. We demolished everything down to the bare-bones skeleton structure and built back a new exterior façade, roofing system, mechanical system and several other components. Its basically a brand new building sitting on a 30-year-old foundation.
Demolition began on Building 3405 in February 2011, with construction under way by summer. The renovated barracks include new furniture, updated building codes, several environmentally friendly features and a number of antiterrorism force-protection measures.
Lt. Col. Channing Greene, deputy commander of the 198th Infantry Brigade, said the barracks for 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment, is a building the unit can be proud of.
Its great, he said. Its the culmination of what started a few years ago as the Training Barracks Upgrade Program, and this is really the first one that has been renovated and now were moving in to take advantage of it. Its a good thing.
The project cost about $30 million the same price estimated for the renovation of Sand Hills second starship barracks, Building 3425, slated for completion Dec. 6.
Theyre basically identical buildings, Thornberg said. From the Corps of Engineers side, they wanted to make a standard template for all the starship barracks. This is going to be the standard model for all the other barracks out there. They can take this design and use it throughout the nation for all the other renovations that are scheduled to take place with the other starship buildings.
One of the most important aspects of the renovation was safety, Greene said, making sure the buildings met all necessary codes.
Building 3405 was constructed in the mid-1970s while Building 3425 soon to be home to 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 192nd Infantry Brigade was built nearly a decade later. Regarding force protection, both buildings have an 82-foot perimeter that precludes a vehicle from driving close to the barracks to detonate a bomb. They also have blast-rated windows.
The windows will explode, but the frames will stay intact preventing further imploding inside the building, Thornberg said, so youre not going to have debris other than a little bit of glass.
When completed, both buildings will be certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver.
The walls have an exterior insulation and finishing system that keeps out moisture and prevents air leaks. The new metal roofing includes more space for insulation and a PVC membrane that reflects heat rather than attracting it.
The barracks also have low-flow shower heads, toilets and faucets, waterless urinals, occupancy sensors for lights and compact fluorescent light bulbs, Thornberg said.
Weve also with our design incorporated a new mechanical system thats kind of a custom-made unit, he said. Its a compartmentalized system, so each wing around the building can be centralized into one location. If somebody were to get sick in one unit, that air is not going to be shared within the building.
The completed barracks also include eight new classrooms, previously space used for a dining facility. The battalion now has a separate building to serve as its dining facility.
The new building is going to be able to fit five companies worth of trainees, Greene said.
The average company training load is 200 Soldiers, he said, but there will be space for up to 250 per company, in case the unit needs to expand.
B Company, which begins its training cycle this week, will be the first unit to take possession of the barracks. The remaining companies excluding F Company, which will be housed in temporary building space into the new year will relocate to the new barracks in the coming weeks.