The U.S.Army with Sen. Mitch McConnell serving as the keynote speaker celebrated the Fort Knox, Ky., Human Resource Center of Excellence groundbreaking Nov. 27 marking the construction start for the largest single construction project ever at the base.
“I think we will be safer and stronger because we open this center,” said
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, Commander, U.S. Army Accessions Command, during the groundbreaking ceremony. “The base realignment and closure committee of 2005 identified the Human Resource Center of Excellence as one of eight training and doctorate commands centers of excellence. This building that we are about to construct will be about 900,000 square feet --the largest building project in the history of Fort Knox.”
McConnell praised Fort Knox and the project during his address.
“The Human Resource Center of Excellence and other BRAC related actions have given us the chance for 4,000 new civilians and soldiers and these new residents will undoubtedly have an extraordinary positive effect, shall I say putting it mildly, on the local economy,” McConnell said. “Moreover, centralizing this command in one location will streamline the internal Army processes and make them more efficient--a vital task for our national security.”
Freakley mentioned Cavalry lieutenants who are training at Fort Knox and used them as an example of the soldiers at the installation.
“They are the essence of Army strong, they, our soldiers, are strong, and because they’re strong, America is strong. And with this Center, we’re only going to gain strength.”
In an interview, Russ Boyd, Fort Knox program manager and chief, Fort Knox Support Section, discussed the teamwork and partnering to get the project to this stage.
“The big thing about this project, we had a great project team and members from the installation. Everyone meshed very well and everyone was focused and productive with an attitude to achieve. For the size of this project, it has gone really smoothly,” Boyd said.
The $186 million project will consolidate the Army Human Resources Command and Accessions Command from Virginia, Indiana and Missouri. The 833,000 square-foot facility includes six interconnected buildings in a chevron design layout to include 3,765 parking spaces. The project will be built using recycled and renewable materials with energy reduction levels to meet requirements.
Primary facilities include an information technology facility, general purpose administration space, conference areas, storage and support spaces, intrusion detection system installation, electrical and technological connections, antiterrorism measures and building information systems.
BRAC 2005 will bring the Army Accessions Command, Cadet Command, the Human Resources Command and six other Army units to Fort Knox within the next three years.
“This positive change at Fort Knox mirrors the broader transformation that the Army is undergoing right now,” McConnell said. “We’re turning the Army in a different direction to prepare it for a new kind of war that we are experiencing -- the global war on terror. Over the past several years there has been a new focus on building a total force that can respond quickly to a nimble and ruthless enemy. The brave men and women at Fort Knox are at the forefront on the effort.”