Corps completes $19.1 million for training, dorm upgrades at Center for Domestic Preparedness
By John Barker
The Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, is in the midst of $19.1 million in upgrades at the FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, or CDP, in Anniston, Ala. The projects include creating a state-of-the-art training facility and renovating old Army barracks into fresh dormitories.
Recently completing the biggest part of the upgrades, the Corps has turned over the keys to a new 37,500-square-foot training center, a $9.4 million renovation project, known as Faith Wing. Originally constructed in the 1950s, the project required demolition of the building down to the structure and was rebuilt as a high-end training area for the Department of Homeland Security. The Corps is still in the process of renovating two old Army barracks on the former Ft. McClellan grounds, adding another $9.7 million in projects.
The Faith Wing upgrades include Interior renovations such as numerous conference rooms, classrooms and an auditorium used for interactive instruction and virtual simulations of disaster scenarios.
“This project required upscale interior finishes and furnishings, as well as a substantial amount of audio/visual and information technology systems infrastructure and equipment,” said Chad McLeod, Mobile District’s South Alabama Area Office area engineer.
“Structural-foundation repairs were made, bringing the building into compliance with current building codes,” said McLeod. “The entire mechanical and electrical systems of the facility were replaced. A new stairwell, elevator shaft and auditorium entry were constructed on the exterior of the existing facility. Faith Wing received a new roof, along with exterior finishes to match the adjacent building. The outside of the training center was also updated, with a new, fortified storm-drainage system. New entry drives and parking areas were also installed to provide easier access around the facility.”
In addition to upgrading the CDP’s Faith Wing, the Corps has also been busy this year upgrading the CDP’s student dorms.
In March, the renovations to the first dormitory building were finished. The $4.3 million project was a design-build contract to renovate barracks not occupied in several years.
In December, the Corps will complete the second renovated dormitory building. This renovation of that dorm will be at a cost of $5.4 million.
“Students not staying in dorms, typically stay in hotels at a much greater cost to the government. So the dorms significantly decrease the center's operating costs,” said McLeod.
The CDP develops, tests and delivers training to state, local and tribal emergency response providers. The facility provides on-site and mobile training at the performance, management and planning levels.