• January 19, 2017

First Team headquarters upgrade underway and on track for 2018

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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:30 am

The 1st Cavalry Division’s headquarters building $65 million renovation is underway and should be ready to start moving furniture in by August 2018.

The renovation of the U.S. Army’s oldest division headquarters building began Nov. 4, 2016, said 1st Cavalry Division spokesman Maj. John Miller. First Team soldiers can expect to begin moving inside by September 2018.

There were two reasons for the buildings upgrade, Miller said.

“First, it’s a life cycle update. The building was erected in 1983 and has not upgraded (in total) since,” he said. “Second, and most important, is the (U.S. Army Forces Command) change to Home Station Mission Command made the building unable to support mission requirements.”

Home Station Mission Command is an Army concept that requires higher level headquarters units to command and control their subordinate units deployed across the globe, said Brian Dosa, Fort Hood’s director of Department of Public Works.

Ultimately, the renovation will provide the 1st Cavalry Division with a state-of-the-art mission command center to conduct global operations, Miller said. The new headquarters will update and improve communication systems throughout the facility to include greater access to classified and coalition networks.

“The operations center was tiny — maybe 1,000 square feet,” said Dosa about the old building. “Standard design on a division headquarter’s operations center, or what is called a COIC — Combined Operations and Intelligence Center — is more like 10,000 square feet. It’s a facility that allows all staff to be in one location to do the planning, coordination and synchronization to command and control (a division).”

Portions of the division headquarters element and the division’s sustainment brigade are currently deployed to Afghanistan. The division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team is scheduled to deploy to Kuwait in early 2017, while the 1st and 2nd brigades are on a rotational deployment to South Korea.

Having elements of the division all around the world requires a need to securely communicate and coordinate between the units and the command element, Dosa said, something the old building did not have the capability to do.

“This will provide a functional headquarters for the 1st Cavalry Division that will meet their needs now and into the future,” he said. “Frankly, it will bring it up to the Army standard — the Army actually has a standard for a division headquarters.”

The new floor plan has an improved layout to better support coordination and collaboration between sections, Miller said, and will provide better security with improvised surveillance and access control.

The contract for just the building renovation is $50 million and was awarded to MW Builders based out of Temple, Dosa said. The Army Corps of Engineers is assisting the contractors to ensure the new building will meet Army standards.

Miller said there would be an additional $10 million to 15 million spent for items such as furniture and security.

“The base funding (for construction) is sustainment, renovation and modernization funds from Installation Management Command,” he said. “(Additional) funding will be provided through Forces Command for furniture, audio/visual systems and electronic surveillance security systems.”

New requirements for military construction means the majority of materials pulled out during the renovation will not end up in a landfill, said Bryan Kotalik, quality assurance with the Army Corps of Engineers. Currently 93 percent of materials coming out of the old headquarters building are being recycled.

“It takes longer, but it’s better all around in the long run,” he said.

First Team soldiers will work from temporary buildings until the renovation is complete, Miller said. The temporary space was designed to accommodate 700 soldiers.

“With most of the division staff currently in Afghanistan, the number is closer to 350,” he said. “Once the division headquarters re-deploys, it will be closer to the 700 number.”

dbryant@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7554

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