Fort Campbell, KY – Large-scale construction efforts are underway in Bastogne’s footprint as the Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works, or DPW, aims to improve housing conditions, quality of life, and more for Soldiers.
Active projects include major barracks renovations and ventilation improvements, repaving efforts on Tennessee Avenue and Indiana Avenue, and a variety of smaller projects.
“Several of the 1st Brigade Combat Team facilities have lower quality ratings than other units on post,” said Marshall Biter, chief, Engineering Division, DPW. “We’ve been trying to obtain funding for larger renovation or replacement projects for some time … [and] this year we were given funds from U.S. Army Installation Management Command to begin major renovations for two of the 17 barracks buildings in the 1st BCT complex. The current plan, if funding continues, is to renovate two per year until we’ve completed the process.”
Enlarging the rooms will effectively cut the number of Soldiers in each barracks building by half, so Biter said making sure they have enough housing in place is a top priority for the installation.
“We’re working with the units to relocate Soldiers who are in the buildings we’re working on, and the Fort Campbell Housing Services Office will continue to work with them to relocate them as necessary,” he said. “We’re also trying to get some new barracks approved in the future.”
Renovating existing buildings is the most reliable way to improve housing conditions on post in the meantime, and DPW is allocating a large portion of this year’s annual work plan budget to 1st BCT.
“While we were waiting on funding to complete the major barracks renovations, we wanted to do a separate project to try and improve the ventilation in those barracks,” Biter said, adding the project is targeting completion in early 2022. “We’re installing some new dedicated outdoor air units to bring more fresh air into the facilities in the 4000 block and installing some larger vent fans in the bathrooms. That’s an effort to improve the conditions with the funds we already have until the larger renovation projects occur.”
Perhaps the most visible construction is the roadwork underway at Tennessee Avenue and Indiana Avenue, which Biter said will include repaving streets and parking lots, improving drainage systems, and installing new sidewalks.
“Soldiers in the area will be seeing a lot of work this year, especially with paving, but we expect it to be completed this fall,” he said. “Our teams here at DPW’s Engineering Division work very hard with unit POCs to coordinate all of our construction requirements, and they’ve been having meetings with representatives from 1st BCT, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital and other tenants in that area for months leading up to this to work through any issues and minimize the effects.”
MWR’s facilities in the area include the Warrior Zone, Gertsch Physical Fitness Center and Fratellenico Physical Fitness Center. They have remained open for Soldiers during the construction period through road detours, said Ryan Noble, chief of Communiy Recreation Division, MWR.
“What we are doing is advertising on the Digital Garrison app, and we’re pushing all patrons to review that app as the main source of information for operational hours at all of our facilities,” Noble said. “That includes any closures, which would be publicized on all of our social media avenues as well as the Digital Garrison app.”
Community members can expect to see Gertsch PFC closed down for a year of renovations beginning September 19th, with changes mirroring the project recently completed at Olive PFC.
In the meantime, Soldiers can visit any of the installation’s six other PFCs to maintain their fitness regimens.
“With the modernization of Gertsch, we are upgrading dated facilities to keep physical fitness centers a desired destination, Noble said. “That is our main intent with the renovation.”
The Fort Campbell Culinary Outpost Kiosk, Building 3717, will be renovated to include office space and will be closed until further notice. The kiosk, which opened in January 2021, is a food option for Soldiers in addition to traditional dining facilities.
Additional DPW projects active in 1st BCT’s footprint include paving a motor pool and installing company headquarters overhangs for equipment management at three storage buildings.
“Major construction like the paving work that we’re asked to complete comes with some disruption, but we’re trying to minimize it while maintaining quality and safety,” Biter said. “The teams that are working on these are doing a great job, and they really strive to aggressively engineer and execute quality projects.”