It will be an active summer at Fort Jackson, as a major Charleston District construction project finishes and two others get started.
The completion of the Semmes Lake Dam will mark the end to a milestone project that has been in the works since 2015. At the same time, the mobilization of the teams constructing Basic Training Complex Four Phase Two and Reception Complex Phase One will set new projects in motion for the base.
Located just outside of Columbia, Fort Jackson trains roughly 50,000 new recruits every year. On average, more than 50 percent of all incoming Soldiers and 60 percent of the Army’s female Soldiers are trained at Fort Jackson every year — including Charleston District Commander Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd.
In 2008, Charleston District reassumed responsibility of Military Construction projects at Fort Jackson. Since then, the District has executed over $1.3 billion in projects including new builds, operations and maintenance, and facility investments services.
A highly anticipated project expected to be completed this summer is the Semmes Lake Dam. After historic flooding in 2015 caused a breach in the structure, Fort Jackson, along with assistance from the Charleston District, created a plan to fix it. Following two years of construction, it is set to finish this summer and will be a major milestone for the base to restore stormwater retention capacity and provide recreational opportunities for the community and visitors.
The first new military construction project to break ground this summer will be the final phase of Basic Training Complex Four. Formally known as a Basic Combat Trainee Complex, it has all the required facilities to house and fully train the Army’s new recruits, while also being in close proximity to field training areas and ranges. Complete with barracks, dining facilities, physical training areas, support buildings and a battalion headquarters, these complexes are pivotal to the successful mission of Fort Jackson.
The new construction includes the addition of three barracks and company operations facilities, three physical fitness pits and other required site work. When completed next year, it will give Fort Jackson the capacity to house an additional 720 initial entry trainees.
The second project will be the first of two phases, consisting of major changes to the Reception Complex where new recruits are introduced to Army life. When trainees first arrive to Fort Jackson as civilians, they are brought to the Reception Complex where they receive uniforms, medical checks and some initial training. After a few weeks, they are broken into groups and sent to a battalion until graduation.
David Dodds, construction division chief for the USACE Charleston District, says the facility is key to introducing civilians to Army life.
“It is their initial exposure to the Army, what the Army does and how they’re going to be trained for the next series of weeks until graduation. This new reception complex will give Fort Jackson a first-class facility to bring civilians in and turn them into Soldiers,” Dodds said.
The first phase will include the construction of a clothing issue point, a permanent dining facility, landscaping, parking and other buildings. Construction of Phase One is scheduled to be completed by 2023. Phase Two — currently in the design process — is slated for an early 2022 calendar-year.
As Fort Jackson continues to provide quality facilities to enable their core mission, the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is to scale up to support the growing construction workload as well. The world-class Charleston District stands at the ready to assist this strategic and important base with whatever projects are needed.