Members of the Wilmington District's U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Resident Engineer Office stuck to an energetic and demanding operations tempo and listened intently to their customers to construct and deliver on budget and on time the state-of-the-art Language and Culture Center located on the developing U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) campus.
Their efforts earned them the Merit Award for Technology and Innovation from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Headquarters in Washington, D.C. for construction management and design.
The Chief of Engineers Awards of Excellence recognizes design and construction excellence by USACE districts, centers, laboratories, and field operating activities in tandem with customers and private sector professional partners. These projects reflect a wide range of skills, innovation and commitment to deliver quality projects for our nation and the Armed Forces.
“The facility was designed for the specific needs of the Special Operations Community,” said Sam Colella, Chief of Wilmington District Military Project Management. “A Project Delivery Team (PDT) comprised of USACE, USASOC and Fort Bragg Directorate of Public Works officials designed and built this facility with flexibility in mind to meet current and future needs.”
Adjacent to the Language and Culture Center, construction is speeding along on a facility for the Special Warfare Training Group command and staff. It will also serve as the primary training classroom location for Special Forces Officers and Warrant Officer courses to include administrative space for instructors.
“The project includes quite a few interior and exterior amenities tailored for these particular customers and their operations,” said Project Manager Brian Whitley. “One special and very important amenity being incorporated is the relocation of an existing statue of Col. Arthur D. "Bull" Simons, which was originally located near the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum. It will be relocated near the main entrance to the Training Group building towards the end of the project.”
The statue of Simons honors the legendary Special Forces commander who was best known for leading the Son Tay raid that was an attempted rescue of U.S. prisoners of war from a North Vietnamese prison at Son Tay during the Vietnam War.
Whitley said the campus was designed to have a professional academic setting for those training within SWCS. This facility’s location and classroom training features will provide new and improved spaces for conducting their operations within a pedestrian-friendly and centrally-located campus. In addition, Whitley said the project is utilizing Fort Bragg's Hot Water/Chilled Water plant system that will allow the facility to take advantage of water that has already been heated or cooled by the installation. This has and will save the customer significant upfront and long term utility costs on heating and cooling for the facility. He said the project is currently on schedule for completion by late October of 2019.
During the development of the campus, one priceless facility relocated to an existing building. The original Special Warfare Museum was demolished in 2017 to make room for the Training Group facility, but visitors can still access it.
“The museum is located at a temporary location while the customer is designing its new location, features and layout,” Whitley said. “We are told it will be several years before they are able to build the new facility depending on available funds.”