Camp Atterbury plans $75M in expansion projects

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More than $75 million in construction work is about to start at the Indiana National Guard's Camp Atterbury to add three new barracks, a dining hall and an expanded rail spur to accommodate bigger shipments to the training base.

The new dormitory-style barracks in a new 66-acre complex on the north side of the base will allow it to train more military members and bring in large units more frequently, the Daily Journal reported.

The barracks and a new dining hall will cost about $52 million, with $25 million going toward a rail spur for shipments of vehicles, equipment and gear to the base for training exercises.

Indiana Adjutant General Martin Umbarger said Camp Atterbury has shown its value to the military in training more than 70,000 service members for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since it became a mobilization site in 2003.

"The Army has seen the value that we bring here," Umbarger said. "They have seen the local community, how well they support us. They have seen that we run this place like a business and try to be as cost effective as we can, in each and every thing that we do."

National Guard officials expect construction on the new buildings to start soon and be complete in 2014, while the rail spur should be finished in late 2014. The new barracks building will include libraries, laundry areas, Internet access and meeting rooms.

The post about 30 miles south of Indianapolis has been focusing more on training civilian contractors and testing new technology as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have wound down. Camp Atterbury should remain a major training hub because it includes the Muscatatuck Center for Complex Operations in southern Indiana's Jennings County, where soldiers from across the country can train for combat in an urban setting, Umbarger said.

The three new barracks will increase the number of beds at the post from about 5,100 to about 6,300, Atterbury commander Col. Ivan Denton said.

"We're bursting at the seams," Denton said. "We need more bed space to remain a world-class testing and training center."

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