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Camp Atterbury expansion continues despite cuts

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Some $75 million in construction projects are on pace for completion this year at the Indiana National Guard's Camp Atterbury even as it shifts away from preparing thousands of soldiers a year for combat assignments.

Leaders at the base near Edinburgh say the new barracks, dining hall and rail yard facilities are needed for its increasing number of training programs for military members and civilian emergency workers.

Troop mobilization ended at the base Sept. 30, after 10 years of preparing more than 200,000 military and civilian workers for duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Preparing National Guard and other soldiers for deployments is a mission Camp Atterbury has to be prepared to do whenever ordered, chief operations officer Jack Fowler told tells the Daily Journal.

"We're trying to continue to do the mission that we've had since the mid-'60s," he said. "Mobilization was something we had trained to be ready for. We're just returning to a steady state of the way we've done business."

The end of the mobilization work led to the elimination of about 500 military or civilian jobs at the base about 30 miles south of Indianapolis.

No new jobs are being added with the expansion project, Maj. Lisa Kopczynski said.

The $52 million barracks and dining facility will serve up to 1,100 soldiers at a time once construction finishes in August, Fowler said.

Within the past two years, the post has had more than 5,000 troops stay at one time but had only about 3,000 barracks beds. Soldiers who couldn't stay in a building had to sleep in temporary trailer housing, he said.

The rail project increases the size of the Camp Atterbury rail yard so a full brigade's worth of equipment can be loaded and unloaded, he said. A typical brigade has about 3,600 troops, and they need to be able to load or unload 120 train cars in 72 hours, he said.

About 100,000 troops are expected at Camp Atterbury and its Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in southern Indiana's Jennings County for training programs this year, according to base officials.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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