The first of two new facilities being built with Recovery funds for wounded U.S troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has opened. Department of Defense officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 8 for the new “Warriors in Transition Barracks” at Fort Bliss, Texas.
WTBs are housing complexes designed to help recuperating soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who no longer require hospital care but still need a healing environment before returning to duty or leaving the military. Their families will also be able to live with them.
The Pentagon plans to build a total 20 WTBs, two of which are funded with $73 million of Recovery funds. The second Recovery-funded complex is still under construction at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The barracks at Fort Bliss consists of a three-story building encompassing almost 140,000 square feet of floor space and 116 apartment-like modules accommodating 232 beds. Each module has two separate bedrooms and bathrooms along with a shared kitchenette. Light colors have been used in the furnishings and paint to evoke a calming atmosphere. A garden area has also been included for outdoor relaxation.
The Fort Campbell barracks, more than 90 percent complete, will be almost identical, offering 206 beds. Defense officials expect this WTB to be ready for occupancy by late September.
Each complex will also include Battalion HQ Administration and Company Operations HQ facilities that will house supervisory officers and staff overseeing the residents’ transitions back to their units or into civilian life.
The $41 million Recovery award to design and build the Fort Bliss complex was divided between Sundt Construction of Tucson, Arizona ($30 million), and FPM Remediations of Rome, New York ($11 million).
Clark Caddell JV of Tampa, Florida, received $25 million in Recovery funds for constructing the Fort Campbell barracks. Nationview, LLC, a small business in Birmingham, Alabama, received $7 million for constructing the administration and operations facilities.
The Pentagon originally estimated $100 million of Recovery funds would be necessary to cover total construction costs of both complexes, but bids came in lower than expected, totaling $73 million instead. An agency official says the $27 million savings will allow addition of more amenities at some of the other 18 Warrior in Transition Barracks.
Warrior Transition Command Website
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