By the numbers
$306 million total project cost
4,000 soldiers supported
7,900 clinic capacity (includes active duty, family)
1,438 total number of barracks spaces
457 total site acreage
1,284,707 total square feet of occupied space
Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Vanguard soldiers were spared “the duffel bag drag,” when they returned from a 12-month deployment to Iraq in late June, according to 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Abe Abrams.
Abrams said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, contractors and garrison leaders who partnered on building the $306 million 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team complex shared a collective sense of urgency to complete the project before 4th brigade troops redeployed to Fort Stewart.
Abrams said returning single soldiers with the 4th brigade were taken by bus from Cottrell Field following homecoming ceremonies this summer to move into one of 20 barracks within the complex. The general said the new “first-class” complex reflects the mindset of “an Army at war,” because defense department leaders now recognize they must invest in their service men and women by offering facilities “commensurate with their sacrifices.”
“We’re delivering on a promise,” Abrams said.
The complex is self-contained, the general said, comparing it to Kelly Hill at Fort Benning. Had the complex not been built, Vanguard soldiers would have had to crowd into legacy facilities inside the cantonment area, he said.
“It was the right decision,” Abrams said. The general alluded to the cancellation of a 5th brigade in 2009, where space on Fort Stewart had been set aside to build facilities in preparation for 4,000 additional troops. Rather than quit plans to build altogether, installation leaders shifted the project’s focus and moved forward on construction,
Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said the complex’s soldier family care clinic and 80,000-square-foot physical fitness facility are still under construction. The fitness facility should be complete in December, and the clinic is scheduled to be finished next summer, according to a corps of engineers’ news release.
“I think (the complex) is awesome for these soldiers,” 4th brigade 1st Sgt. Robert Keith said.
Keith, an 18-year Army service member, said the barracks he lived in as a young soldier made him feel “like a prisoner.” In comparison, the complex’s 20 new barracks — each barracks building separated into 36 two-bedroom suites — are like college dormitories, Keith said.